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Why I’m going to run the New York City Marathon next month

Before anyone has a heart attack, let me assure you that it is not me who will be running any marathon.

The runner is Chris Lawrence,  a researcher at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, who will be working up a sweat for personal and professional reasons.

Chris Lawrence writes:

Next month, I will join thousands of other runners in the ING New York City Marathon in an effort to raise funds for the Heart Foundation and a cause close to my heart – diabetes and heart disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

One of the reasons I’m running is in memory of my father, who died at age 49 from heart disease brought on by diabetes and other health complications.

He had 15 siblings with most dying from diabetes and heart disease before the age of 60 – there are only 3 siblings left.

My mother, Gloria who is one of 11 siblings, is still alive and had a coronary bypass in 2004 and is also a diabetic.  My maternal grandmother, Mary, who raised me, died at 82 also from diabetes and heart disease.

Training for the 42 kilometre race is exhausting but I’m determined to achieve on behalf of my family members, and in honour of those who have passed and whose spirits continue to inspire me.

I work at The George Institute for Global Health as a research fellow for my doctoral studies.

Diabetes is Australia’s fastest-growing chronic disease and the seventh highest cause of death in Australia. Australia’s Indigenous population suffers the fourth highest rate of type 2 diabetes in the world, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 35 years among those at highest risk.

Australian Aboriginal peoples experience epidemic levels of diabetes compared with other Australians, yet little research has been done into methods of reducing the incidence of this chronic health problem.

I want to make people aware of these issues – prevention is better than a cure.

I recently spent a year studying in Boston and Washington DC as a Fulbright Scholar, so am familiar with New York City and the race course.

In 2009, 16 Heart Foundation runners raised more than $160,000 to help the Heart Foundation fight cardiovascular disease. This year, I am joining other runners who hope to raise a minimum of $10,000 for the Heart Foundation.

For Croakey readers who are in Sydney, a fundraising dinner will be held on the 29 October 2010 at 6.30pm at Deus Café in Camperdown. Entertainment plus a silent auction, door prizes, guest speakers, fabulous food and ambience!

If you want to come, contact me: clawrenceATgeorgeinstitute.org.au

And you can sponsor me here.

Chris in his training gear
Chris in his training gear