JOHN Thew had just sold his business and was preparing to caravan around Australia with his wife when he was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophathy.
He died from the aggressive neurological condition in August and now his Rockhampton son Mark and daughter-in-law Cassey are determined to help find a cure. The pair have taken on the challenge of running the Gold Coast Airport Marathon and Half Marathon on July 5, raising more than $10,000 in the process.
The diagnosis was a shock to the family, who had gone to Melbourne for a specialist diagnosis.
Mark said the disease took its toll quickly.
"You could almost see it on a weekly or monthly basis," he said.
John, known to many as Thewy, was a respected businessman and Mark said his death had left a hole in many lives.
"He was amazing," Mark said. "His positivity during the disease was just outstanding. I couldn't have been like that and as a person, dad was one of the top people."
Cassey said the couple set their original fundraising limit at $8000, but doubted they'd make that much.
They'd smashed that goal in four weeks and yesterday had raised $10,423.55 which will go directly to Multiple System Atrophathy research.
"I wanted to set it at $5000 to start with, so we're pretty overwhelmed with what we've got," she said.
Although the marathon and half-marathon was something Cassey and Mark had always wanted to do, it has taken them four weeks to train for the challenge.
"I'd been lying if I said it was the easiest thing we'd both attempted," Mark said.
"It does make it easier knowing what he had to go through was worse.
"No matter how much pain you feel, it's nothing compared to what he had to go with on a day-to-day basis.
"It's been tough, but it's good knowing he'd be proud of us doing it."
Run for Thewy
Cassey and Mark will run in the Gold Coast Airport Marathon on July 5