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New RainbowYOUTH Co-Chair overcomes odds

New RainbowYOUTH Co-Chair overcomes odds to run for RainbowYOUTH in the 2015 ASB Marathon

Meet RainbowYOUTH’s new Co-Chairperson, Amanda Parkinson, who is kicking off the organisation’s grassroots fundraising direction by putting herself and her health to the test.

Ten months ago the thought of walking from her bed to the bathroom was overwhelming. Amanda was crippled by chronic pain. For five months she fought to keep her sanity as doctors threw countless diagnosis at her, including cancer. Finally after five hospital admissions and two surgeries, Amanda was given news that would break her heart.

“Doctors told me that I have stage IV endometriosis. I had surgery but the disease had already penetrated my uterus, which surgery can’t fix. I was told the chronic pain would never go away, I most likely could not have children and sport would aggravate my condition, I was devastated” she said.

Ten months on Amanda and her fiancee Tash are training hard – with a modern twist. Their Instagram accounts are full of videos of their fitness escapades. But the cute post-run selfies are mixed with a slightly more serious edge. One post on Amanda’s account is a video of her doing a handstand leg-lift combo. The caption reads: “After my two abdominal surgeries last year, I lost all my core strength. Been working hard to regain [it].”

When the opportunity to fundraise for RainbowYOUTH by competing in the 2015 ASB Auckland Marathon came around, it “seemed apt” for Amanda to sign up. She explains, “I had always had really painful periods, in Australia I was admitted to hospital countless times, saw heaps of specialists but throughout all of that time I had so much misguided medical advice because of my sexuality. Doctors told me I didn't need pap smears because I apparently didn't have penetrative sex.... at no time did anyone ask me about my sexuality, they just made assumptions,” she said.

“The reality is when you are laying in a hospital bed, dosed up on morphine, feeling completely vulnerable, you rely on the professionals around you to make the best assessment and keep you feeling safe.”

Amanda’s fiancee Tash has been a pillar of support. Tash managed to keep up with her job as a posite, her university studies, looking after the couple’s two Australian working dogs, visiting Amanda in hospital, taking her to specialist appointments and looking after her when she was sick. Tash will also run with Amanda to help and support her finish the race.

“I have learnt a lot over the last year about resilience and this will be a great personal test of that. In some ways Amanda and I have already run a marathon in the time we have been together...This for me will be a really positive way to finish that challenging chapter of our lives.”

Amanda and Tash will be running 12kms each in the ASB Marathon on the 1st of November. To support them, and RainbowYOUTH, you can donate here:http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/RainbowYOUTH/

You can follow Amanda’s instagram: @ranga_fit and Tash’s instagram: @tturner_07
For more information about the ASB Marathon 2015: https://www.aucklandmarathon.co.nz/

RainbowYOUTH is a national organisation based on providing support, information, advocacy for young queer and gender diverse (LGBTIQA) people up to the ages of 28.
For more information about RainbowYOUTH: www.ry.org.nz


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