RELAY FOR RESPITE 2023
I will never forget the day my mum stopped working her job and started receiving the relatively tiny although helpful carers payment for looking after me. It hit me hard, knowing that at the age of 18 my mum was once again my full-time carer, setting aside her own life’s journey because my needs had grown to the point of being unable to do anything on my own. Behind the scenes what she and my family did is nothing short of heroic, and there are countless other unpaid carers also navigating this struggle that is just as arduous and worthy of acknowledgement as the journey of who they are caring for.
This is why Relay For Respite has been born. My motivation within my running career has never been winning but honouring those that got me here by working for my absolute best, while also forming a platform that I can use to create something much bigger and more meaningful than just running and competing. I want carers to receive more of the spotlight, more funding, and more recognition of the fact that without them, no one survives the depths of despair and comes out the other side able to live and thrive.
MEET THE CARERS
Rowan has been a part of Relay For Respite from the very beginning, helping me form an idea, into a goal, into a reality. She has been a major part of the inspiration to bring awareness to this cause now, as I have known Rowan since before she became a carer and seen the transformation of her life first hand over the last few years. She is one of the strongest, most generous and driven people I know, who has mentored me through many aspects of my university degree and life in general.
The journey of Rowan and her son is not too dissimilar to my own journey with mum, just this time I am seeing it from the other side. I am in awe of Rowan’s resilience, love, and determination to give her family everything so they all grow stronger through the challenges.
I have not had the pleasure of knowing Aleasha for long, yet. But it was clear from the very first reading of her nomination to join Relay for Respite just how passionate, generous, and loving Aleasha is. After only a few weeks of getting to know small parts of Aleasha’s journey caring for Arden alongside her partner, a few things have stuck out to me.
I can only imagine the challenges they have come through together. I hope through reading Aleashas words below you get a sense of just how hard, yet rewarding a caring role is - and how much the little things count.
After only a few weeks of knowing her, I would describe Seal as the bundle of light and energy we all need in our life. That person who just through the way they approach life and speak of the world makes you excited for anything, and grateful for everything. However, it is only after hearing about the extreme challenges Seal and her husband Paul have faced over the last few years that you truly start to appreciate and be inspired by this zest and energy. To come through what they have together, and still be facing the challenges they are, but have the outlook, energy, generosity, and enthusiasm of someone without a care in the world is admirable and unique.
Seal's story is not an example of what people quickly and easily recognise as becoming a carer. But not all carers care for children, or elderly, or relatives. Sometimes it is the person you stood next to when both in the prime of your life marrying, who then through the twists and turns of life finds themselves needing their partner in a wholly new and unexpected way.