Death of son inspires mum to take on big challenges
CARISSA Brogden is preparing to run 21km. It's a big ask, but she would run a thousand miles to hold her baby boy in her arms again.
The Maroochydore mother will take on her first half marathon in the Sunshine Coast Marathon on Sunday in honour of her son Jensen.
He was born at 28 weeks, weighing a tiny 1203g. An infection called necrotising enterocolitis affected his bowel and intestinal wall. He died on April 14, 2011, at just 17 days old.
Now, in what she has dubbed the Jog for Jensen, Mrs Brogden hopes to make her son proud and raise money for the National Premmie Foundation.
"Jensen was a fighter. He came into the world breathing on his own (a rarity at that age) and he continued to shock us and medical staff with his incredible fighting spirit and was going from strength to strength," Mrs Brogden said.
"On day 16 I left Jensen at noon to get some lunch and when I returned an hour later he was surrounded by doctors and nurses.
"My world crumbled around me... we had to steel ourselves to go and say goodbye to our tiny little boy.
"I had to be at the Royal Brisbane Hospital for quite some time before Jensen was born and initially after he was born so it was very difficult to be away from my husband Daryl and our other kids...but I can reflect now and see that he brought so much joy and inspiration into our life.''
After the birth of her daughter Sierra, Mrs Brogden started exercising again and became hooked on running as an opportunity to clear her head and "run out" her emotions. She lost 12kg and is in training mode for the marathon.
"In the beginning I could barely run 2km but I decided after a conscious decision to turn my heartache into something positive," Mrs Brogden said.
"What happened to Jensen was tragic and the absolute worst thing a parent or family could ever have to deal with, but be strong and focus on something positive to keep you forging ahead."
Donate at https://sunshinecoastmarathon2014.everydayhero.com/au/carissa.
See our four-page guide to the marathon festival in tomorrow's Daily