Ultra 24 is a grueling fitness challenge in the epic Cable Bay Adventure Park in Nelson, where participants have to complete a 10.5km course as many times as possible within 24 hours. It was supposed to be held in the first weekend of October this year (3rd & 4th) but due to COVID-19, it has been postponed to March 2021.
That’s not going to stop Heather though. Instead, with the support of her friends and family, she will be mapping out her own course around her local area and completing it this October 17th & 18th. As well as that, she will also be taking part in the rescheduled official event in March of next year.
Like many of our supporters, Heather has a very personal connection to the Neurological Foundation.
“My biggest motivation to fundraise for the Neurological Foundation was the support provided by the Foundation when my brother was diagnosed with brain cancer 10 years ago. I was very close to my brother and have been wanting to do something worthwhile in his memory for some time. My father also passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage at age 48, when I was five years old, which was a very tough time for our family.”
As well as losing her brother and father to neurological conditions, Heather has also suffered from a stroke.
“When I was 28, and the mother of two little boys, I hurt my neck playing squash. After a few days of pain, I went to my GP who manipulated my neck. The pain only increased, and one day I awoke from a brief nap unable to control any parts of my body and with guttural sounds coming out of my mouth when I tried to talk. It was discovered that the manipulation had caused a dissection in my vertebral artery resulting in a stroke.”
She hopes that the work and research carried out by the Neurological Foundation will lead to breakthroughs in the conditions that affect so many of us. She is particularly interested in breakthroughs relating to brain cancer, and “the potential for existing brain cells being able to be utilised to carry out the functions of cells that have been damaged or destroyed”.
When asked what completing Ultra 24 means to her, she had this to say.
“Ultra 24 will push me to my absolute limit physically and mentally. The event commences at midday on the Saturday and therefore it will become dark when I have completed about 30km. I know it will be a huge challenge to push through the pain and exhaustion during the night with a further 30km or so still ahead of me to complete after daybreak on the Sunday.”
Her brother Rex, who passed from brain cancer, will be her motivation for when it gets tough.
“Knowing all that he went through and his bravery throughout his ordeal will make my pain fade into insignificance. When I feel as though I can go no further I will focus on him, what he meant to me throughout my life and how much I want a cure to be discovered for brain cancer and other neurological conditions. I am not just doing this for me, but for a whole team of supports and researchers, all working towards a common goal.”
Thank you to Heather, for sharing with us her story, and for raising hope.
Support Heather’s efforts by donating today: https://raisinghope.everydayhero.com/nz/heather-s-ultra-24-challenge-for-raising-hope. If you are interested in fundraising for the Neurological Foundation, for the 1 in 5 Kiwis affected by neurological conditions, please get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0508 BRAINS (272 467).