Sponsored Think you’re too old to participate? These women will change your mind

Think you’re too old to participate? These women will change your mind

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Consider this little gem from Henry David Thoreau: None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.

On that note, maybe you were thinking of entering the Mother’s Day Classic but the pace and weight of life have left you flat, and you’ve decided instead to have a lie-in.

Spare a thought, then, for Jean Downing. Ordinarily, Jean swims in the southern ocean most mornings. This Sunday she’ll be walking four kilometres in the Balnarring-Somers MDC event on the Mornington Peninsula, in the company of her daughter Barbara, son Phillip, granddaughter Sophie and second cousins Rosemary and Vivienne.

Jean and her daughter Barbara will be participating in the Mother’s Day Classic this Sunday. Photo: Jean Downing

Jean is 97 years old and her overall enthusiasm appears to be as strong as ever. Asked what she’d like to see more of in the world, she said more money “should be spent on safe all-abilities walking trails”.

And what’s her motivation for entering the Mother’s Day Classic? “The challenge to keep fit and contribute to an important cause on Mother’s Day,” she says.

Compared to Jean Downing, Doreen Jayamaha is a youngster, 91 years old.

Doreen is a resident at an aged-care facility in the leafy suburb of Carlton. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and had part of her lung removed, but it has not slowed her down.

Doreen Jayamha 91 is participating in the Mother’s Day Classic this Sunday. Photo: Doreen Jayamaha

Described as “super for and spritely”, the grandmother of eight walks every day around the neighbouring Princes Park.

More than 60 years ago, Doreen was the first woman to be accepted into the University of Sri Lanka’s medical school. She was a practicing doctor for half a century, specialising in rehabilitation medicine.

In the 1980s, Doreen was the Founding Fellow of the College of the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

Of late, she has been fundraising for the MDC. Having set a target of $500, she has raised $630 so far.

On Sunday, Doreen is walking for the MDC around Princes Park with a group of friends, including former students from the Visakha Vidyalaya school now living in Melbourne.

Doreen says: “I hope I am a good example to others.”

So maybe you don’t need that lie-in after all.

If you would like to support Doreen’s fundraising efforts, you’ll find her page here.

The New Daily is a media partner of the Women in Super Mother’s Day Classic, Australia’s most inspirational cause driven event. In 2021, the Mother’s Day Classic is going local! On Sunday, May 9, participants will be getting active for breast cancer research in their own way or at one of many smaller, community-driven local locations across Australia. Local location bookings are now open at more than 70+ locations nationwide. Find your nearest location here. Be quick and book your spot. Funds raised will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help fund life-saving breast cancer research projects. Registrations are open here.