Smashing the 42.5km Gold Coast Marathon in July with a time of three hours 46 minutes, Corporal Jennifer Pearsall, Personnel Capability Specialist at 35 Squadron, was the first female ADF member to cross the finish line.
Not only participating with 7,000 other runners to beat her personal best, Corporal Pearsall was raising awareness and research funds for the Children’s Tumour Foundation (CTF).
Her three year old son, Grayson, has Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1) – one of the lesser known, but most common genetic inherited conditions, affecting up to 1 in 2,500 individuals and giving rise to the potential for benign tumours to grow on nerves anywhere in the body.
Corporal Pearsall said that she always enjoyed running, and this was the third marathon she had participated in.
“Grayson was diagnosed about two years ago, and his condition has since developed into tumours in his brain and along his spine.”
“He needs yearly MRIs to keep track of his condition.”
“My way of coping internally is to talk to people, educate them, and generate support for the Children’s Tumour Foundation.”
With the strong backing of 35SQN, her loving husband and the rest of her family, Corporal Pearsall raised $2,500 for CTF prior to participating in the marathon.
“One hundred percent of the funds raised will contribute to a new drug trial in Australia that has the potential to suppress the growth of tumours in NF sufferers,” Corporal Pearsall said.
“We are also campaigning for the establishment of a NF Specialist Centre in Brisbane, so NF patients and their families don’t have to drive hours around Queensland to make weekly and monthly specialist appointments.”
“I can’t thank all members at 35 Squadron enough for their love and support – this means so much to me, the CTF and NF community.”
For the 2020 Gold Coast Marathon, Corporal Pearsall is planning to build a full team to continue support for CTF.