21 March 2016
When she was 23 years old, local Parkside resident Jodie Sard was faced with the uncertain reality that her father had prostate and bladder cancer.
Her father, who was 57 years old at the time, had unfortunately seen cancer work its way through the family touching seven family members with many sadly losing their battles.
“I was shocked (when Dad was diagnosed). I was scared that I would lose my dad and was very sad. I was so stressed about it, I actually came out in shingles… I was only young,” she said.
Jodie’s father Joe, a returned war hero (Vietnam), went into remission for ten years before the cancer returned. It is now constantly monitored.
“His doctors continue to keep a close eye on him.
“He is a wonderful man and I love him very much,” she added.
20 years on and Jodie has decided to lead a more active life while helping to obliterate cancer this March as she joins Cancer Council’s The March Charge. Jodie is swimming in the movement to run, ride or swim down cancer with the goal to make Australians healthier and combat the one third (37,000) of cancers that can be avoided by prevention measures alone, including exercise.
Her family is very supportive of her goal to swim at least 40kms in March while she visits as many pools around Adelaide.
Her eight year old daughter Sahara is also joining the charge completing 1km in the first week. Her mum says she is not a huge swimmer but is determined to swim a lot in March!
She says her family (including her two children) is now closer than ever, despite their hardships.
“I am very blessed to have a close family anyway. We all love each other and enjoy each other’s company. I guess we have all learned that you cannot take anyone for granted as you never know how long we have on this planet.”
Her parents have just celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary and are keen on promoting the importance of a good diet and reducing stress to enjoy life.
Jodie began swimming eight years ago to combat asthma, an exercise that continues to help her condition.
“It (The March Charge) just really appealed to me in regards to raising money and awareness for Cancer Council whilst pushing myself physically and keeping fit,” she says.
“Promoting exercise as a way of reducing your risk of health problems is a great message to convey, especially to the younger generation.”
The March Charge runs for the whole month. Visit www.themarchcharge.com.auto sign up or support the participants.
“I am swimming to honour those who have lost the battle, those who continue to fight and for those who work tirelessly every day to find a safe and effective cure for cancer!