Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Kerryn McCann 1967-2008

There are times when reading the obituaries really hits home, today was one of those days. Kerryn McCann the Australian marathon runner and I would have been starting out taking athletics seriously at about the same time, she was a little over 16 months older than me.
Her last race was probably her best, not in terms of time that had been in London 6 years earlier, but in terms of effort. the mother of two had battled with Hellen Cherono Koskei of Kenya over 26 miles in the Commonwealth Games marathon in her homeland of Australia. With a mile to go Koskei timed her effort to try and break the defending champion but McCann responded determined to to give up her title without giving her all. Each increase in speed from the Kenyan was met by the Aussie athlete and they entered the stadium side by side. Then with 200m to go McCann kicked for home and Koskei was spent. You don't often see sprint finishes in the marathon, far fewer in the stadium finishes at the major championships, even fewer still where the home favourite is the one who takes to the front.
Following that win she took time out to have her third child, but at six months noticed a lump on her breast. She did not notify her doctor until her child was born, six weeks premature at the end. However, after treatment it was initially thought that the cancer had been sucessfully treated. However, it returned in her liver this year and she passed away on 8 December.
It brings it home that even though initial treatment may be sucessful there is always that ghost over cancer survivors that it can come back, more virulent, less treatable than before. Just like my own father that was the case with Kerryn. She may have been able to battle more and more strenous attacks from Koskei just 2 short years ago, but this is one battle she has lost.
Therefore I'm wearing the pink ribbon for the Breast Cancer Campaign on my blog. With my history cancer is most likely going to get me in the end like all my immediate male ancestors so please lend you support where and when you can.

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