At the age of 31, Lisa Tennekoon was diagnosed with breast cancer and her happy life suddenly morphed into an endurance test of harrowing chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions.
Lisa’s mother Bev Morrissey was diagnosed with breast cancer at 62 and died from it aged 64, then six years ago, Lisa’s father John died from a brain tumour, aged 76. “The word ‘cancer’ is not liked in this family,” Lisa says, matter-of-factly. But despite her own health battles and the heartache of losing her parents, Lisa was determined to find a way to fight back against this cursed disease; she found it while watching a show-jumping event under the Eiffel Tower. “Show-jumping is my passion. I love it! I thought if I could bring something like the Paris event to New Zealand, what a great opportunity to both showcase the sport and raise awareness of breast cancer.”
This is the third year of Jump for Cancer Hagley. Last year’s event saw between 2,000 to 3,000 spectators enjoying the competitively elegant display as they picnicked with their families. This year’s event will be livestreamed to an estimated 3,000 plus audience. All proceeds raised will be donated to the Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. Former Christchurch Boys’ High student and cancer survivor Jake Bailey will MC. Lisa says Jump for Cancer Hagley is gaining momentum. “So many people are wanting to get involved now; it’s very life-affirming.”
Held at North Hagley Park, Sunday 24 March from 11:30am to 4pm. For more information find @jumpforcancerhagley on Facebook.