Setting the pace as a positive mindset overcomes health adversity

Athlone native Emma Canning, who hopes by telling her story of overcoming a cancer diagnosis, it inspires others to seek health and fitness fulfilment. A prominent member of the Moate Athlone Running Group, Emma completed her first marathon in October 2018, when she successfully ran the 26.2 mile Dublin course.

Athlone native Emma Canning, who hopes by telling her story of overcoming a cancer diagnosis, it inspires others to seek health and fitness fulfilment. A prominent member of the Moate Athlone Running Group, Emma completed her first marathon in October 2018, when she successfully ran the 26.2 mile Dublin course.

An inspiration to her Moate Athlone Running Group (MARG ) colleagues, Athlone native, Emma Canning’s return to good health following her cancer experience is a continuing source of immense pride for the Brawny resident.

Originally from Assumption Road, the running enthusiast reflects upon the Spring of 2014, dark clouds hovering above, as she received news of her cancer diagnosis.

At the mere age of 34 and with her daughter, Eve, just four years of age, it was news which Emma least expected to receive.

“I had noticed a growth in my groin area during the fitness classes I was attending and thought little of it at the time. It was not until the growth became more sizeable and painful that I decided to seek medical treatment and unfortunately following consultation, a cancer diagnosis was made,” Emma commented.

Seeking to take immediate action, Emma was operated on in St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin where the growth was removed, prior to the commencement of thirty intensive radiotherapy sessions at St. Luke’s Hospital, during which she resided on the grounds of the facility, returning home at weekends to see her daughter.

“The radiotherapy sessions were particularly intense and energy sapping and being away from Eve was an added drain on my body. Thankfully, following the radiotherapy, I received the all clear, but my post treatment recovery entailed the use of crutches for a number of months. It was a long healing process and my leg was in a debilitated state, with only limited movement,” Emma reflected.

As the dark clouds began to part and bright skies came into view, Emma was eager to return her fitness ways and through the help of personal trainer Anthony Jinks, her mind focused on a regular exercise regime with the aim of rebuilding the strength in her leg.

“It was in February 2015 when I approached Anthony Jinks and he was very influential, always offering encouraging words and planning intensive exercise workouts for me as I sought to strengthen my leg and return to fitness,” Emma continued.

Running was a harbouring ambition and soon Emma was taking to the roads with close friend, Laura Nally. Initially, her runs comprised of 5kms and 10kms, but it was advice from her cousin Edel, which saw Emma join the popular MARG and from her first visit to Burgess Park, where weekly interval sessions, under the guidance of coach Mick Murphy are held, she has advanced her distance status.

“Running was another step in my recovery and joining MARG enhanced my ability to run longer distances. The encouragement from my colleagues has been continuous and having participated in a number of half marathons I decided to run the Dublin marathon which I successfully completed in October,” Emma enthused.

The completion of the 26.2 mile course was a milestone achievement and running has helped Emma maintain a positive outlook on life.

“Running plays an integral part in my weekly calendar and together with the support of my partner Brian and daughter Eve, profound positivity is a feature of my life.

Prior to her first half marathon participation of the year in Mullingar on Sunday, Emma is hopeful that her story resonates and provides inspiration to those seeking to find positivity in their lives.

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