Sports

Marathon running for charity

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While the bulk of us sat on our asses stuffing ourselves with stuffing, turkey, potatoes and whatever other Thanksgiving delights were on the table, Nicki Armstrong and Anne Irwin were on a nobler mission. They both took part in the Victoria Marathon Sun., Oct. 9 with the goal of raising money for the Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.

Anne is a professor right here at the University of Calgary in the anthropology department. Nicki is her daughter, an alumna of the Kinesiology faculty.

"Nicki decided to sacrifice her own goal of achieving a personal best marathon for my goal of finishing a marathon before my 50th birthday," Anne proudly conceded. "She ran every step of the way with me and kept me going even though there were lots of times I really wanted to quit."

While Anne has now accomplished her aspiration, the two set out to cross the finish line in five hours. Despite not soaring over this hurdle, the pair was able to complete the course in 6:04, very respectable for a young woman approaching a half century of youthfulness. During times of doubt, these ladies kept their minds on one rousing inspiration.

"The thought of these women and girls walking miles and miles in excruciating pain to the only place they can get help was enough to get us out the door," according to Nicki.

Anne agreed, feeling that it was certainly a suitable cause for a mother/daughter team.

Obstetric fistula occurs when prolonged obstructed labour cuts off blood supply to certain tissues in the loin region. The lack of blood kills the tissues resulting in a hole where the dead tissue was. Fluids and solids usually excreted through other openings leak uncontrollably through this hole.

Each year, the hospital repairs approximately 1,200 cases of obstetric fistula. This condition was once rampant in the Western world, but due to our advanced maternal care is now very rare. In the third world however, the injury is still a familiar one. The Fistula Hospital strives to treat as many of the 100,000 cases experienced annually by developing countries as possible.

To help or learn more, you can visit www.fistulafoundation.org. Donations can be made to support Anne and Nicki by clicking "donate now" and entering "Anne and Nicki's marathon" in the "who referred you" field of the donation form.

Whether you contribute to their cause or complete a feat in the name of your own charity, Anne and Nicki thank you from the bottom of their hearts.

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