I Can Too Because

by Emma Brown 22 Sep 2020

Can Too devotee Dr Nisha Sachdev has hiked, swum and run marathons to raise over $16,000 for the Can Too Foundation since February 2018. In 2019 she has climbed to the rooftop of Africa – conquering Mount Kilimanjaro and ran the New York Marathon as well as conquering The Big Swim in January 2020 with Can Too.

Nisha’s Can Too goals for 2020 were to dive in with a Palm to Whale swim and end it with the Honolulu marathon. However, with COVID-19, her plans were turned upside down. But with the help of the Can Too community she got out of the COVID slump.

When restrictions were in place in early 2020 with Can Too’s group training postponed, the Ophthalmologist felt at a loss.

“Before I was only running and swimming in groups and didn’t have the motivation to do it on my own,” said Nisha.

When COVID restrictions were enforced, Nisha reached out to her running coach, Simone Clucas to help her through.

“Simone was great, she sent me an individualised programme. She gave me the structure I needed during a time that was uncertain and unknown to me. For the first time, work was shutdown, so I needed some focus.” 

Her fellow Can Tooer, Jimmy Clare also started a Facebook group “Running for those that can’t”. 

“It was an incredible thought, which brought everyone together and gave us all the motivation to run on our own”.  

She then sprang into action to join Run into Spring - Can Too’s first program since lockdown and is now training for a marathon with the Run into Summer program. 

“I joined Run into Spring to run with the crew I did my first Can Too run program with. It has been a great program being back in the East and having some structure again.” 

“I was hoping to do a marathon in January, however, with the uncertainty of the state governments at the moment, who knows if Tasmania will let us NSW folk in. However, it has been a great start running with the crew I did the New York City Marathon with.”

Nisha said that it’s not only the social aspect of training in a Can Too group, you also get pushed and encouraged with coaching tips as well as fundraising for cancer research.

Nisha was inspired to join Can Too and climb Mount Kilimanjaro by her best friend of 24 years, who she studied medicine with, Dr Nicola Willis. They had planned to reach this goal together before they turned 50. 

Sadly, in 2017 at age 40 Nicola lost her battle with breast cancer, so Nisha dedicated the 120km hike in Nicola’s honour.

“Nicola and I planned our trip just three weeks before she was diagnosed. Afterwards she said we would still do it as she’ll beat the disease,” said Nisha. 

After losing her friend, Nisha joined Can Too in February 2018 to help with her grief and to prevent others dying from cancer.

“Unfortunately, as a doctor I diagnose and see people die from cancer all the time,” she said. 

As a doctor we need to emphasis that even though covid is around cancer still happens. She has three friends undergoing cancer treatment at the moment.

Nisha wanted to share the important message that even though we need to be careful to keep safe from COVID, you still need to get mammograms and GP tests which many people have delayed this year. 

She finds this is often the case especially with doctors neglecting their own health. 

“We often neglect our own health, but if you look after yourself you’re more capable of looking after your patients.”

As the Chair of the newly formed RANZCO Health and Wellbeing Working Group she is promoting physical, mental health and general wellbeing where she is using the learnings from her training with Can Too.

“Thanks, Can Too for giving me the strength, encouragement and support in allowing me to keep myself and others healthy.”