Secret Harbour resident Vanda Brzozowska Ladds will put her fitness to the test next month after pledging to cycle 1000km in memory of her mother who she lost suddenly to pancreatic cancer.
The 47 year old is one of the many Western Australians who have signed up to help raise vital funds for Cancer Council WA through the fun and personal fitness challenge, The March Charge.
Vanda says she knows too well the impact losing a love one can have on a family, and plans to do everything in her power to help raise funds and awareness in support of people affected by the disease.
"I lost my Mum very suddenly to pancreatic cancer 16 years ago, but it still feels like it was yesterday," Vanda said.
"I use to sit with her and cry because I knew there was nothing I could do. I felt completely helpless.
"When you lose a loved one to cancer, it changes your perspective on life. I realised one thing I can do is help raise money and awareness for those who need it most.
"Being able to raise money whilst doing something I love, which is cycling, is a win-win."
The decision to jump back on the bike was no easy feat for Vanda. After having two major spinal surgeries, the thought of riding a bike again terrified her, but she was determined to do it for her Mum.
"Three years ago I had two life-altering spinal surgeries within 10 days of each other," she said.
"The thought of riding a bike after my surgeries absolutely terrified me, up until four months ago when I decided to step back in the gym.
"It was a mental battle for me. It took me three attempts to actually bring myself to walk through the doors again.
"But fast forward to today, I've got my mojo back and I'm cycling more than 25km every day in preparation for my 1000km target in March.
"I'm going to do it, I know I am. I'm going to do it for my Mum and anyone else who needs it."
Vanda says she has some sage advice for anyone thinking of taking part, but may be worried about the amount of work involved.
"You don't need to be extremely fit or set big targets to take part; it's all about finding something you enjoy doing and sticking to it," Vanda said.
"Even if you start by walking 10 to 15 minutes every day and slowly building it up. Being fit and healthy is so important, so we need to find time to exercise every day.
Nearly 1,900 Australian cancer cases each year are caused by a lack of exercise and a third of cancer cases are preventable by living a healthy lifestyle.
By taking part in The March Charge, you will not only be supporting thousands diagnosed with cancer each year, but also reducing your own cancer risk by being active.
Head online to sign up at www.themarchcharge.com.au
About The March Charge
Cancer Council is encouraging Australian's to get moving this March, by taking part in The March Charge and setting themselves a walking, running or moving challenge for one month.
The March Charge provides an opportunity for everyone, no matter what their fitness level, to get healthy and contribute to a cancer-free future. Funds raised will support Cancer Council's lifesaving cancer research, vital information and support services and cancer prevention programs to reduce cancer in the community.
Visit The March Charge website to find out more.