Nineteen-year-old Tylah Orr felt an instant connection when she met fellow Forster Tuncurry resident, Rod Marshdale for the first time last year.
The two have an interest in maintaining health and fitness through their shared condition, cystic fibrosis (CF), a disease which primarily affects the lungs and digestive system.
As a result of CF, and much like 46-year-old Rod, Tylah has spent much of her young life in and out of hospitals.
But, Tylah’s has begun to take a turn for the better since meeting Rod who has encouraged the young nursing student to take up jogging.
Tylah had known of Rod through his sons, but it wasn’t until she read about his marathon achievements in the Great Lakes Advocate that she met him.
We met up, and he encouraged me to start exercising, Tylah said.
Taking ‘baby steps’ Tylah began return walks from the Forster breakwall to the Tuncurry breakwall, before breaking into jogging.
Tylah was pleasantly surprised with her fitness ability, and even happier with improving health.
“My lung function has improved and my chest has become clearer,” she said.
“I had always been advised to excercise, but I wasn’t into it. didn’t have any energy.”
However, there is a downside to Tylah’s exercise regime.
Maintaining a healthy body weight.
At a little over five foot (or 152.4cm) and weighting in around 40kgs, Tylah tends to lose weight when she is jogging.
An unexpected long stay in hospital in November enabled her to put on 2.5kg, but it quickly came off on her return home.
Depending on her health, Tylah jogs every two weeks.
However, her exercise regime is about to increase as she prepares for the 65km for 65 Roses Walkathon in late February.
Tylah plans to tackle 21 kilometres in Sydney's longest one-day walkathon which helps support Cystic Fibrosis Community Care and the Children's Hospital at Westmead.
“I thought it would be good to go in it and give back something.”
Giving back and helping people was the reason she chose to become a nurse after completing her Year 12 studies at St Claires High School, Taree.
Working part-time at Estia Health Tuncurry and studying to become an enrolled nurse through TAFE, Tylah plans to expand her credentials to become a registered nurse, studying at the Port Macquare campus of Charles Sturt University next year.
Accompanying Tylah will be her family – mum Coralee, dad Chris and 13-year-old sister Chloe, along with her mentor Rod Marshdale.
Tylah is sure double-lung survivor Rod will run the entire distance.
You can help Tylah raise much needed funds by popping a coin in a collection tin located at Jamaica Blue Forster, Tartt, Forster or Great Lakes Cinema, Tuncurry or her 65km for 65 Roses Walkathon donation page.