Celebrating a first, Redfern Aboriginal scholar Chris Lawrence is shaping up to run the ING New York City Marathon on 7 November this year in the Heart Foundation charity run. Currently training for the grueling 42 kilometre race is “exhausting but exciting at the same time“ says Chris, although he’s confident that he’ll be fit and ready to compete in the northern hemisphere fall.
Chris is raising money for a cause close to his own heart which is diabetes and heart disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Chris says, “From a personal perspective, I’m running this because my father 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 1 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. Chris attributes his ‘determination to achieve’ to his family members and runs in honour of those who have passed and whose spirits continue to inspire him”.
Currently working for The George Institute for Global Health as a research fellow towards his PhD, Chris explains that 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. Chris says, “Raising awareness of these issues is important to me as prevention is better than a cure”.
Having recently spent a year studying in Boston and Washington DC as a Fulbright Scholar, Chris is familiar with New York City and the race course and is excited to run with people from all over the world who train all year for this event. In 2009, 16 Heart Foundation runners raised more than $160,000 to help the Heart Foundation fight cardiovascular disease. This year, Chris is one of many runners who hope to raise a minimum of $10,000 for the Heart Foundation.
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! Please RSVP to Chris on the following contact details: Seats limited. Cost is $110.00 (includes two course meal, sides + wine + beer)
Contact: Chris Lawrence
Phone: 0439 370 386