OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘I run because if I didn’t, I’d be sluggish and glum and spend too much time on the couch. I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run to savour the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.’

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‘I feel her all the time. I don’t know if that’s a bizarre thing. My dad and I have spoken about that. I’ve had a Christian upbringing and both my parents were Christians but my dad’s family is Buddhist so he’s got that real spiritual side of him as well. I remember when mum passed, he said when it happens, don’t get upset because her spirit will come back. It was very poignant at that point.

‘There are all these moments all the time. I have this warmth and I don’t know what it is. I definitely feel her. I see her. I see things that remind me of her. People’s characteristics. Smells. Voices.

‘I believe in afterlife. I think that’s the only thing that’s kept me OK about it all. Because if I didn’t think there was something after it, it would be a real struggle for me to understand why it happened. I would struggle to think that this is the end. There is too much amazingness in life; there are too many things you can’t explain to not believe in it.’

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‘I miss my stepdad. He passed away four years ago. He was a driving influence. I miss his wonderful stories. He was old school – a different generation. Tough but fair. He grew up poor. He was a fisherman. He ended up with macular degeneration and loss of hearing so he was pretty much blind and deaf but he always had his sense of humour.

‘I try to keep my sense of humour. Life’s pretty hard if you don’t have it. If you can laugh at yourself and you can laugh at a situation, you can cope a lot better. You need to be able to see the ridiculous.

‘One of my husband’s best mates is having radiation treatment for a really rare cancer. It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be good but you just have to keep that spirit otherwise the world gets on top of you.’

‘I turned 80 on Valentine’s Day. I spent 25 and a half years as a fireman.’

How are the lungs?

‘Oh, they’re 75-85% there. I try to keep active. The mind is still willing but the body’s not quite there.’