Marita to run marathon alongside brother battling cancer

LOCAL personal trainer Marita Higgins isn't new to running marathons, but when she takes on the Gold Coast Airport Marathon on July 7 it will be more of an emotional challenge than anything.

Mrs Higgins, of Ballina, will be running alongside her brother, Greg Johnson, who has been battling cancer that has recurred three times in the last five years.

Marita Higgins of Ballina will run a marathon with her brother Greg who is battling cancer.
Marita Higgins of Ballina will run a marathon with her brother Greg who is battling cancer. Doug Eaton

"After his last operation and radiation therapy in 2012 we made a pact that if he came through it okay we would run the Gold Coast Marathon together," Mrs Higgins said.

"Sixteen weeks ago he rang me and said, 'Get ready, we're running'."

She'll be wearing her heart on her sleeve as she does so, having entered the Suncorp Bank runPositive campaign, where she'll be wearing a custom singlet proclaiming: "I runPositive because I am inspired by my brother."

She's trying to show people that staying positive makes anything possible.

Her brother inspired her every day with his positive attitude.

"He never whinges. He's an inspiration," she said.

Being positive has changed her own life too.

"Mindset is everything.

"If you give in, your body will just shut down. If you keep saying 'I can't'; you won't."

Being positive had changed her life.

"I enjoy my life more and don't sweat the small stuff."

By entering the runPositive campaign, she's in the running to win $10,000.

If she won, she would take her brother on a holiday and donate to the CanToo Foundation, an organization that Mr Johnson has raised $2680 for so far as part of his Gold Coast Airport Marathon bid.

The marathon will be a family reunion, as her brother flies up from Melbourne for the race and other family members travel to be in the crowd and watch.

Topics:  cancer gold coast marathon

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