Member of the Month: January 2020

It's Member of the Month time!! Please give a like for Saffron Ault! Below is her fitness story in her own words:

"I have been enjoying spin classes at Parkwood for several years and I was becoming curious about how many miles I was completing. So, this time last year, I set myself a challenge. I wanted to achieve 2019 miles to correspond with the new year’s date. I created a mileage tracker on my phone, and I was ready to go. During the first 2 months of the year, I clocked up 250 miles for each, so multiplying that up for 12 months, I amended my target to 3,000 miles!

Due to my age, I reluctantly realised that although my eyesight had been perfect, I finally needed reading glasses. I had not seen an optician for over 10 years and when I went in for my routine check, it resulted in a diagnosis that I was not prepared for!

A referral to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, confirmed that I had an ocular melanoma on the back of my left eye, a rare form of cancer, affecting about 7 in 1 million people! Unfortunately, due to the unlucky position of the tumour - it was touching the optic nerve - I was told that I would almost certainly lose the vision in this eye after undergoing treatment. It felt like a double blow!

Chris, Mim and Rhiain, as well as lots of my Parkwood friends, became aware of my situation and supported me with lots of encouragement, hugs and smiley faces when I needed them.

My initial operation and then the proton beam radiotherapy took place in Liverpool, which gave me added stress, because it meant time away from spin and therefore mileage not covered! I was adamant that I would still reach my target by the end of the year, so I went to lots of extra classes beforehand to bank miles!

Being a teacher, I had the summer holidays to fully recover and then I started term in September, feeling that everything was now behind me. I had been told that the vision in my left eye would slowly deteriorate over 2 years, but I felt positive that I could cope with it, if or when I had to.

However, my first monitoring MRI scan in October, picked up what the oncologist thought to be a small secondary tumour in my liver – I could not believe it! Luckily, after it had been removed, the results came back benign.

Throughout my operations, recovery time and radiotherapy, I had to miss 7 weeks of spin, which meant that I had a lot of miles to catch up on – some weeks, I went every day – nothing was going to stop me reaching my goal!

I could never forget that I was also doing this challenge to improve my fitness, through motivation from Lindsay and his persuasive use of resistance!

I completed my 3,000 miles in Chris’s spin class on 21st December, to a round of applause and a big cheer.

Now that we have started 2020, I have a new mileage tracker and I hope to beat my 2019 final mileage, which was 3, 081. (I’m secretly hoping to make 3,500!) I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Parkwood who supported me and kept me going, with a special mention to Lisa, who nominated me.

When making your New Year’s Resolutions, firstly, go and get your eyes tested, because who even knew that you could get these ‘moles’ on your eyes; then set yourself a personal challenge. Don’t let anything stop you, stay focused and just go for it!"

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