Grandma crunches COVID curves for kids with cancer

Anne Johansen takes on RedKite Crunch4Kids to help children with cancer

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 Anne Johansen and grandson Ryan Morich.

Anne Johansen and grandson Ryan Morich.

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Grandson's cancer battle inspires74-year-old's tummy crunch fundraising challenge.

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There's a lot of talk about flattening the COVID curve, but let's face it - we all may be experiencing 'COVID curves' of our own, thanks to isolation-induced eating.

Now one Western Australian grandmother is working on flattening her own lockdown 'love handles' while helping support kids with cancer.

Childhood cancer support charity Redkite helped Anne Johansen's family when her grandson, Ryan Morich, was diagnosed with cancer when he was 12.

This June the 74-year-old will be doing 20 tummy crunches a day to raise money for Redkite. In doing the Crunch 4 Kids tummy-training challenge, she hopes to raise $500.

"Ryan was 12 when he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma. Redkite kept my family afloat when my grandson was battling cancer.

"Redkite helped pay my grandson's family bills when both of his parents' work hours got cut. Ryan's cancer came back a second time, which cost him his left leg below the knee, so it was a long drawn out illness.

"We reckon it was chemo, radiation, nanny's veggie bake, the family and Redkite that kept Ryan going," she said.

Anne said her age was no barrier to her taking part in Crunch 4 Kids with Cancer, where participants set their crunch and fundraising goals, either solo or as part of a team.

"During isolation I have still gone walking and bike riding, but I have also cooked a lot, so I need to flatten my curve. The stand-up criss-cross crunch is quite good for people of a mature age because it helps us practice our balance as well," she said.

Redkite provides essential support to families who have a child with cancer, such as free online, video and phone counselling, financial assistance, as well as funding music therapists and social workers in children's cancer wards around the country.

Over the last year, Redkite has supported approximately 250 West Australian families facing cancer and this April, the number of support sessions delivered nationally was 60 per cent higher than the 2019 monthly average.

Redkite CEO, Monique Keighery, said she was looking forward to seeing families from around the country take part in the challenge in their home gyms or on their living room floors.

"Redkite's Crunch 4 Kids encourages people to do something positive for their wellbeing, and everyone who participates is showing a child with cancer that you're on their team.

"Right now, these families need extra support and for the community to acknowledge and understand their unique challenge. Every crunch crunched and every dollar raised will go towards providing essential support to children with cancer and their families," Ms Keighery said.

Find out how to donate at crunch4kids.redkite.org.au

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