David Briggs keeps promises. He promised to look after his kids and he’s doing a fantastic job as a single dad. Like any single parent he’s juggling work with school drop offs and pick ups, organising birthday parties, camping trips, sleepovers, endless sporting commitments; the list goes on. But David has made another, very solemn commitment. Three times a week he runs 35 km. Five times a week he’s in the gym lifting weights. Because David, or Briggsey to his friends, is running the New York Marathon in November.
He’s doing this because he promised his late wife Kerry that he’d take the kids to New York. They had booked a family holiday there but had to cancel it as she got too sick too quickly with a horribly aggressive breast cancer. Instead, Briggsey had to promise her that one day he’d take the kids Caitlin, 7, and Lachlan, 11, to Central Park. Briggsey and Kerry were also heavily involved in fundraising for cancer research and wanted to create a Cancer Wellness Centre at Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, where people could get all the other help they needed complimentary to the treatment of cancer itself like psychology, diet and other services. So Briggsey made another promise to see that Wellness Centre become a reality.
Anth and I met Briggsey about three months after Kerry died when he’d just started back at work at the Flinders Foundation. He’s one of the amazing people at the Foundation whose job it is to coordinate the charity, enthuse the community and encourage giving. Briggsey was so full of empathy for us; he knew exactly what we were going through – after all he’d just been there.
He was one of the first people I befriended at the Foundation. A few weeks after Anth died, Briggsey invited me for a coffee and we talked about our own individual experiences. I could see from the way he talked about his job that he drew amazing strength from his work, knowing that he was fulfilling a promise to Kerry. I realised that I needed to follow his example and help the foundation to give me purpose (see my previous post How a charity saved my life).
Briggsey is now in training for the New York Marathon. And he’s taking the kids, who will be there in Central Park to cheer him over the finish line. “I’m not a runner. I just wanted to get fit to show the kids I’m not going anywhere,” he says.
By entering in the race he is fulfilling the other promise to Kerry. He is raising money for the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer. The money will help create that Cancer Wellness Centre for cancer sufferers and their families. Please help him achieve his target of $10,000 and make his promise to Kerry a reality.
You can donate towards David’s target here; David Briggs New York Marathon