MARATHON EFFORT: Helping sick kids one step at a time
A local man is using his new found love of running to raise money for sick children around the country and help their wishes come true.
Aaron Ralph will embark on a marathon length run from Childers to Woodgate in May and is aiming to raise $100,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Mr Ralph began running after being told by his doctor to get into “peak shape” after being diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder.
“I returned from the US about 12 months ago and I have a very rare neurological condition that took about seven years for doctors to diagnose,” he said.
“So I came back and saw a doctor here that suggested I get in peak physical condition or try and lose weight because I was 111kg when I came back, unfortunately with the American diet.
“So I just got out and I couldn’t run for more than a minute, but I just kept going and I just discovered I had a real love for running.”
Since then Mr Ralph has dropped 25kg but as he started to feel better, he wanted to find a purpose.
“I decided I needed to find something and I realised my passion was helping kids so I thought ‘how can I do that from where I am at the moment?’,” he said.
It was during that thought process Mr Ralph’s Orchard to Ocean Marathon was born and it will be his first marathon length stretch.
He said living in Childers it was the perfect marathon length run from his home to Woodgate.
“I just figured why not try do the best I can to raise some money while challenging myself and making it useful,” he said.
“I’d love to raise $100,000, I know it’s a big target but I’d rather reach for the stars.”
Mr Ralph said he chose the Make-A-Wish Foundation because a large majority of the funds raised would go directly to helping the children in need.
In the lead up to the marathon run, Mr Ralph will be working hard to prepare and start raising funds.
“I get up at four every morning and run for at least an hour so I have a training app I use, but most weeks I run no less than about 50 or 60km a week,” he said.
“I break it up in days of training so some days I’ll do a run with more focus on time like sprinting, other days will just be running and at the end of the week I’ll do a long run, which could be a half marathon – it sort of gets longer and longer as I get a bit closer.”
Mr Ralph will also be doing what he can to start raising funds to meet his 100k goal with the help and support of his family.
“What we’ll be doing locally, my mum is going to approach some local businesses to see if they’ll donate items we can raffle off,” he said.
“We’ve got posters done up to make some awareness as well.”
Mr Ralph said the Orchard to Ocean marathon is just the beginning, and plans to continue doing what he can to help sick children.
“I’ve realised it’s my purpose, this won’t be the only thing, this to me is a start,” he said.
“At this point in time it’s something I can do, I can get out and be physically fit.
“I realised I just have a passion for helping kids, I have a medical science background and eventually I want to go on and build hospitals and create paediatric care.
“This is something I can start with straight away, if I can make the difference in one child’s life that fills a purpose for me as well.”
To find out more about the run or to make a donation click here.