Every day during our Indiegogo campaign we’re shining a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Heather Godina, a cancer survivor, triathlete, and all-around go-getter. Here’s what she had to say:
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
I have had many great accomplishments recently. The ones I’m most proud of include getting into triathlons, competing in my first half Ironman (and finishing under my goal time!), registering for and starting to train for the 2013 Arizona Ironman, and beating cancer! Undergoing six months of chemo and over seven weeks of radiation — as well as multiple surgeries — was a speed bump I never anticipated having to overcome.
How did you achieve it?
My determination and unwillingness to give up is what gets me through challenges — both those that I can control (marathons and triathlons) and those that I cannot control (cancer). I think that my love of endurance training helped me in the long road to a full recovery from my cancer diagnosis. Now I know I can tackle and overcome anything life throws in my direction; and based on previous experience, I’ll have a smile on my face!
What motivates you to make the world a better place?
Everyone can do a little something to help. There are so many people that could do just a little bit and share the responsibility for making our world a better place. So many people have helped me along my journey during cancer. ALL of those people that pitched in a little bit to help me made such a huge impact on my life. No one person was solely responsible for the financial assistance I received. Therefore, I am a firm believer that not one individual will be solely responsible for changing the world — we can all do a little bit and have a huge impact.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
I try to be active every day — even if that isn’t a workout, I am up and moving. My current training plan has me working out six days a week…and I take full advantage of the one day off! Even if I don’t hit the gym, get on my bike or lace up my shoes, I am active on my off day — walking around the office, going out for a 5-minute walk during the day to get some fresh air, cleaning the house. Even small activities can add up to big health benefits. I also try to eat healthy — fresh fruits and veggies, cut out sugar and processed foods, limit how much I eat out; and drink enough water a day to stay well hydrated.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Never give up on your dreams. When I started working out again while undergoing chemotherapy, people called me crazy and said that might not be a good idea. But I spoke with my oncologist and we agreed that I was used to that type of activity prior to my diagnosis, so I could probably be OK continuing it while going through treatment, but to be mindful of my body and needs. It was during chemo that a good friend told me about a women’s-only super sprint triathlon and I knew I just had to do it. I started training as much as my body would allow me and I registered. It was the greatest experience ever crossing that finish line one week prior to crossing the chemo finish line! I knew I could do it because it was something I wanted to do and I wasn’t about to let anything stand in my way — including chemotherapy!
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
The moment I heard about Charity Miles, I knew I would be able to put this app to great use. I am in the very beginning of my Ironman training program and have a long road of rides and runs ahead of me. This app allows me to do something good for others while doing something good for myself — and something I love doing. As I said before, changing the world isn’t the responsibility of just one person or a few people, but anyone and EVERYONE. This is something I can do that is easy and will make an impact. And being able to share this app and my progress with my Facebook family and friends makes it even better. I can share the opportunity to others and might even encourage someone to start walking to help themselves get healthy and raise money for a great charity!
Who do you exercise for, and why?
First and foremost, I exercise for me. It is my release and my sanity check. It gives me an opportunity to clear my head, get some fresh air, reconnect with friends, or spend a few hours alone. I also exercise for those who cannot — cancer patients that are too ill and/or weak to get out there and do it themselves; those that have been lost to this terrible disease; and those who, maybe someday, will not even be diagnosed because a cure will have been discovered. I am a cancer survivor. I have always been a firm believer in the fact that if a cure is found for one cancer, the rest will follow suit shortly after. I will swim, bike, run, train, and fundraise until we no longer have to fundraise for a cure. What I love most about the Charity Miles app is that I can pick a different charity for every workout. I can raise money for a variety of organizations and know that what I am doing to help better myself is helping the greater well being of our world.