Marlene's Mighty Marathon

Thursday, 3 November, 2011

Marlene Dunick ran the mighty Adidas Auckland marathon on Sunday, 31 October. Her tee-shirt declared Running for Brain Research and every footstep raised money for the crucial work of Neurological Foundation-funded neuroscientists. Marlene not only finished a hard 42.2 kilometres, she also raised over $1,070 for research. Here we share her humbling story. Marlene’s marathon tee-shirt declared Running for Brain Research and every footstep raised money for the crucial work of Neurological Foundation-funded neuroscientists. Marlene not only finished a hard 42.2 kilometres, she also raised over $1,070 for research. Here we share her humbling story.

My mother, Pat, a wonderful mother of four, and grandmother of three, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) mid last year. For those of you who are unaware of MND, it is a cruel neurological condition that leaves people locked in a failing body, and for Mum, so far, it has meant losing her voice and her ability to enjoy the foods she loves. She is only 67 years old. What MND hasn't taken away though is Mum's courage and her hope that they will figure this thing out. No one knows what causes MND and at present there is no cure.

We are fortunate though to have an incredible organisation like the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand working on our side. As one in five New Zealanders will be struck with a neurological disorder in their lifetime, most of you will know someone who has suffered as a result of a disorder that the Neurological Foundation is funding research to try and prevent, slow down and cure. Along with MND there are disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, stroke, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, as well as autism and brain trauma; just to name a few. With passionate people like Prof Richard Faull running the Foundation’s brain bank and leading cutting-edge research in the field of neurological disorders, I know my mother can have hope, and so can I.

So, having already taken on the Rotorua marathon earlier in the year, I decided to hit the pavements of my home city, and prove that actions speak louder than the words this disease has stripped from my mum. With her as my motivation, my goal was to do the hard yards - the training - then complete the Adidas Auckland Marathon to raise money for the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand. On October the 31st that is exactly what I did. I put one foot in front of the other, over and over again, until I had run 42.2 kilometres. I won’t lie, not having been able to put in as much training as for Rotorua it was painful and took a little longer than I had originally hoped, but having Mum in my thoughts every exhausting step of the way drove me to that finish line.

It breaks my heart that my Mum has to suffer the way she does, but she is so happy and proud that I did this, and she is so pleased that an organisation like the Neurological Foundation exists. You don’t have to run a marathon, but it really does mean something to step outside your comfort zone and try to make a difference in the lives of beautiful people like my mum. As for me, I will be back. Although still relatively new to running, I am hooked.

Thank you to everyone who supported me – the Neurological Foundation is very grateful to all who donated - and their Communications Manager will join me in my next marathon challenge!