INSPIRATION can spring from life’s darkest corners.
Leah Dodsworth’s came as she clung to life in an intensive care unit after being struck down by swine flu in 2012.
Doctors credited her unlikely recovery to her physical fitness and as she emerged from hospital, the mum-of-one vowed to become even fitter.
The following year, she ran the City to Surf with son Thomas, completing the race again last year.
And next month, she will tackle her toughest race yet when she lines up in the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon.
Along with Thomas and “support dog” Chilli, Ms Dodsworth has been pounding the streets around her Turvey Park home in readiness for the event.
Already, her long distance races have raised $4500 for the Make A Wish Foundation.
This year, the 36-year-old is hoping to raise even more for the charity.
“It’s a great charity because it brings a lot of joy to families faced with devastating circumstances,” Ms Dodsworth said.
“I always hated running but when I almost died, I recognised how important physical health was.
“And I thought it was time I should step up and do a half-marathon.”
The lead-up to the big race hasn’t been without incident.
After being struck by a car in early February, Ms Dodsworth missed six weeks of training, forcing her in a race against time to be fit enough to take her place in the line-up.
She said her brush with swine flu was still seared into her memory and propelled her fitness regime.
“I still don’t how I got swine flu, I think it happened when I visited Canberra,” Ms Dodsworth said.
“I just remember collapsing and being rushed to hospital. I spent 12 days in intensive care and I contracted pneumonia as well while I was there.
“It was touch and go for a while.”
She said the harrowing experience had given her a new perspective on life.
“A lot of things I might have seen as problems before don’t seem like such a big deal now,” she said. “It’s helped Thomas also realise how lucky we are that we’re healthy. When you see families who access Make A Wish dealing with what they have to, it puts it all into perspective too.”
The Sydney Morning Herald Half-Marathon, to be held on May 17, is Australia’s largest half-marathon.
To donate to Ms Dodsworth’s run, visit her fundraising webpage: www.smh2015halfmarathon.everydayhero.com/au/leah
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