Name: Melissa Chatley
Local parkrun: Claisebrook Cove, WA
Attending since: August, 2014
“I’ve been a runner most of my life,” says Melissa, a project officer and occupational therapist from Inglewood WA. “Some of my friends had been attending parkrun, and I liked the idea of a weekly, five kilometre timed run.”
Life threw a major hurdle at the 34 year old mother of two in December 2014, when she had already been attending parkrun regularly with her husband and young daughter. While 19 weeks pregnant with her second child, Melissa was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
That wasn’t going to stop Melissa from staying active though. In between a gruelling six cycles of chemotherapy over three months, Melissa still turned up to parkrun every week. “I managed to run a few times with my husband and young daughter,” she remembers, “and when I couldn’t run, I volunteered.”
“The parkrun community has had such a positive impact on my recovery.”
In April 2015, Melissa gave birth to their second child. “I’ve not needed any further treatment,” she says. “And now I’ve been cancer-free for almost a year and a half.”
She credits parkrun, both the runners and volunteers, with contributing to her recovery. “I had so much support from the people at Claisebrook Cove. It was amazing,” she says. “parkrun and the parkrun community have had such a positive impact on my recovery.”
Melissa still attends parkrun at Claisebrook Cove each Saturday morning, accompanied most weeks by her eldest daughter. Eighteen cancer-free months later, she’s now feeling stronger and fitter than ever. “I’ve completed a total of 58 parkruns and I’m running personal best times over the five kilometre course now,” she says. ”It feels amazing. I’ve never been happier.”
Start your own parkrun story
Medibank is proud to partner with parkrun all around Australia. Head on down to your local parkrun, set yourself a challenge and experience for yourself how good it feels. It’s not about performance – it’s about fun and celebrating everyone crossing the finish line.