East and Bays Courier : October 22nd 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 YOUR PLACE, YOUR PAPER Determined runner: Georgie Townley is running the AucklandMarathon to raise funds for the Heart Foundation inmemoryofher dad who died of heart disease. Photo: JESS LEE ❝ It’s been a bit of a nightmareinterms of training but I’m determined to do it – nothing’s going to stopme Georgie Townley For someone else’s dad By JESS LEE A broken foot isn’t enough to throw Georgie Townley off course for the Auckland Marathon. The St Heliers teenager will run 21 kilometres to raise funds for the Heart Foundation on November 2 in memory of her dad who died suddenly from heart disease last year. Townley is one of 25 people chosen to represent the foundation as Golden Charity Heart Racers. The lead-up to the halfmarathon hasn’t been easy for the 19-year-old. She broke her foot last month and also ended up in hospital with a postoperative bleed after having her tonsils removed. ‘‘It’s been a bit of a nightmare in terms of training but I’m determined to do it – nothing’s going to stop me.’’ She was just 17 when her dad Ralph died. He had been experiencing a loss of energy and feeling faint for a month beforehand but the family didn’t know he had heart disease, Townley says. ‘‘It was completely sudden – we had no idea. It was really difficult and it still is, it doesn’t really go away,’’ she says. ‘‘Heart disease is such a massive killer. By doing this I could be helping save someone else’s dad hopefully.’’ Townley says she struggles to imagine having to face a lifetime of milestones, like her graduation, without her father. ‘‘The worst thing is the fact that his death could have been easily prevented. With the right treatment and advice and he would still be here with us today,’’ she says. Heart disease is New Zealand’s single biggest killer with more than 5500 people dying of it each year. Many of the deaths are prevent- able, Heart Foundation spokeswoman Karen Miller says. ‘‘Heart disease currently sees 90,000 years of life lost each year to disability or premature death. ‘‘It’s costing New Zealand many millions of dollars annually in health care.’’ The not-for-profit organisation is working to help stop people dying prematurely from the disease. Townley is hoping to raise $2000 but admits she’s not a natural runner. ‘‘When I was a kid I was useless at running. I used to come last in cross-country and now I’m running a half-marathon.’’ ❚ Go to heartracer.org.nz/ GeorgieTownley to makeadonation. Goodmemories: Georgie Townley as a baby with her dad Ralph.
October 17th 2014