Last year, one of my very closest friends, Bernadette Allen, sadly passed away far too young - she was about to turn 49. Through her entire adult life Bern silently and stoically dealt with a very painful autoimmune disease called Lupus, (or SLE - Systemic Lupus Erythematosus). It's something that few of us really understood, mostly because of Bern's capacity to always be the most cheeky and brightest light in any room. She wouldn't talk about it or complain, and this masked the severity of the significant daily challenges she faced. With Lupus, one's immune system misguidedly attacks the body's own cells and tissues. Inflammation caused by this affects many different body systems, including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs. There is currently no cure.
In thinking about how I might honour our Bern and raise some money to help combat this debilitating and little-understood disease, I am going to challenge myself to something that will definitely hurt a lot, (though not as much as what Bern had to endure). I am going to try to run a 31km trail - starting at The Gap, twice over Mount Coot-Tha, and then out to Kangaroo Point. Just writing that sentence gave me pre-emptive calf cramps...but this is certainly worth it. Any money I can raise will go to Australia's Garvan Institute for Medical Research - one of the few places to study Lupus in an effort to find a cure. https://www.garvan.org.au/research/diseases/lupu
So folks, if you have a spare dollar, please donate - trust me, it will hurt you a lot less than this run is going to hurt me. And for those of you who receive this correspondence and you didn't know Bern, please know she was the best of the best. I don't want anyone to be unwell with anything, but I wish there was something out there years ago that could have offered my completely lovely and faithful friend some relief.
Thanks in advance.