Inspiring Stroies

The Joy Of Six

Tradition demands that when you blow out the candles on your birthday cake you make a wish. A sports car? An exotic holiday? Mortgage paid off? But if your life has been touched by cancer then the chances are that wish is something along the lines of “health and happiness”. As 5k Your Way celebrates its 6th Birthday, we hear from some of our ambassadors and participants about the power of 5KYW and how getting involved is quite possibly the best present – to yourself or to your loved ones – ever…

“After finishing my treatment and taking part in MOVE’s 8-week online programme, I was thrilled to find out they were setting up a 5k Your Way group in my local area” says Birmingham Cannon Hill Ambassador Jasmine. “It is an honour to be a part of the group and even in the first few meetups it has already been wonderful to see people being brought together with a shared connection to cancer. It is such a welcoming environment and has been valuable in helping to build and sustain my physical fitness after spending most of last year in a hospital bed. I now look forward to the last Saturday of each month to spend time outdoors in a friendly, inclusive space.” 

Susanna, a GP and active member of the British Society Of Lifestyle Medicine, is also passionate about the last Saturday of the month.  “As an RCGP Active Practice we were already affiliated with our local parkrun and when I heard that 5k Your Way was hoping to come to Scotland I jumped at the chance to come on board as one of the supporters at the Edinburgh Cramond 5KYW group. I have been honoured and humbled to join in alongside colleagues and patients alike in recent months. Come along and see what all the fuss is about!” 

Healthcare professionals and Brynaman 5k Your Way Ambassadors Sioned, Rhiayndd and Tom wholeheartedly agree. They have been actively doing physical activity promotion throughout their careers. “We wanted Brynaman parkrun (which we co-founded) to have a 5KYW group because we witness the barriers to participation both at work professionally and locally in our community, the biggest of which is the misconception of ‘who’ participates in parkrun”, says Tom. “With the 5KYW banner we are able to specifically encourage and explain how parkrun is for all people, regardless of physical ability, ill-health or mobility. As healthcare professionals who have practiced what we preached for many years, we have also been able to empower the community to take that responsibility upon themselves to bring along a friend, family member or patient”. 

To celebrate our 6th Birthday on Saturday 29th June we’re encouraging our groups across the country to mark the day with a great big 6: bring 6 people along, tell 6 people about us, share 6 of our flyers, bake 6 cakes, wear the number 6 or donate £6 via our website. If you’ve never been involved before, why not come along?

For the Whittinghams, 5k Your Way is already the gift that keeps on giving. As a family of five they are all involved! Steve, who has prostate cancer, says “It’s part of our lives now. If we’re not at a 5KYW at the end of the month we’re spreading the word by doing a bit of tourism!” Daughter Lauren shares her dad’s enthusiasm: “It gives us something positive to focus on. The people you meet, not just at 5KYW but throughout the month … it just means so much”.

Brynaman participant Sheree can relate to that: “I come along to get out of the house, meet new people and others who have been – or are – in the same position as me. To talk about cancer and my experiences makes me feel normal and have a purpose”. 

Before surgery and treatment Conan had struggled to walk and was lacking in confidence but his cancer nurse Julie encouraged him to try the Glasgow Elder Park 5k Your Way. “I had no idea what to expect of myself. Julie – who is one of the 5KYW Ambassadors – said for me to take my time, do as much or little as I wanted and stop when I needed to. She and my girlfriend Milly walked with me and as we chatted away, I found that I wasn’t really thinking about my tumour or worrying about how I’d manage the walk. The 5KYW Ambassadors were so encouraging, telling me to take things at my own pace and I found that I was definitely taking it on in MY way. If the course you’re doing has several laps you genuinely forget which lap you’re on. By the time I was on the third lap I thought: I can actually do this!”

They do say the best things in life are free. So perhaps the best present anyone could wish for is the gift of movement. Give it to yourself or give it to others. A fitting way to celebrate 5k Your Way’s 6th birthday!

“It’s one of the best things I’ve done after my diagnosis, inspiring me to be the best I can be, but also to inspire others to take that first step”, says Beverley 5KYW Ambassador Allyson.I was never a runner and never imagined I would be, but it was in my 60th year, with an extended period between chemo 5 and 6 that I ran my first 5k on New Year’s Day 2023. I’m so grateful and proud to be part of this community”.

Happy 6th Birthday, 5k Your Way! Love from Gillian, 5KYW Operational Officer