I’m running the London Marathon next Sunday for Asthma UK to help support their research into finding a cure for asthma and providing support to those suffering from it.
My daughter Michelle is one such sufferer.
On top of running the marathon I also entered and won a competition through one of the race sponsors, Buxton Water, to have a loved one run a short stretch of the course with me. I chose Michelle.
This will take place just after the 12-mile mark and just before the iconic Tower Bridge.
It will be a highly emotionally charged part of the day. Going over the bridge is always a highlight as it is, but having Michelle accompany me on the route – the *actual* route – just beforehand will make it beyond special.
Michelle has written the following personal and heartfelt post detailing her experiences of living with asthma. I hope you take the time to read it. She is my #reasontorun.
“Dad entered me into a competition to run a wee bit of the London Marathon with him. Not like one of those parents living their dream through their children sort of way. So far, he’s doing a great job managing that by himself. He didn’t really tell me a lot about it. I just let it roll. Sure, we probably wouldn’t win anyway…
Ha! I woke up from a nap to a rather excited message from dad saying he’d won. I’d be running a bit of the marathon with him! Once I woke up a little bit, the excitement kicked in. I’ll be running a little bit with my dad living one of his dreams. To me, I’m stepping foot onto one of the red carpets of running.
It may only be a little dander in comparison to the full thing, but I really do appreciate that this is further than a lot of people get to with the London Marathon. 253,930 UK applicants registered for a ballot place for this year’s event. Little more than 35,000 make it to the starting line. Realistically, only a lucky few are successful.
Dad is running for Asthma UK, a charity that works towards helping those with asthma by funding research hopefully leading to a cure one day.
Asthma is not fun or easy. It’s exhausting. Growing up with asthma was difficult and at times quite terrifying.
My earliest memory involves my mother making me stand outside the front door in my pyjamas in an attempt to get fresh air. I had no idea what was happening to me or what I had done for my body to react in such a way. It was very scary as a five-year-old struggling to breathe and not understanding why.
When I was around eight I had another bad chest infection brought on by my asthma. I remember being put on various pills and potions and feeling very frustrated with my body.
I had to take a few weeks off school which to the average child might seem great but trust me when I tell you it’s so boring and miserable when you’re very sick. You’ve got no energy because you feel like you’re carrying this massive strain on your chest. Whatever energy you do muster is used on trying to eat and teach yourself the lessons you have missed.
One day I took a hissy fit and refused to take my tablets so my dad decided to tell me sternly that I would die if I didn’t take them. I don’t think I have ever popped a pill so quickly since. In hindsight, I can see why he had to tell me.
PE in secondary school made double maths seem like heaven. And I really did not like maths.
The teachers weren’t sympathetic to the kids with chronic illnesses and assumed that we should be running like the hockey team. We’d be made to run around the school which involved hills. I do not do hills. I recently fainted walking up a hill on my way to university. Part of this was because of my asthma. Ended up with broken glasses and a black eye. The look every person aspires to have (says nobody).
Today as a 21-year-old, my priorities have somewhat changed and with that my asthma has had to adapt.
Without going into too much detail, kissing has been a challenge. Have you ever tried to passionately kiss your partner straight after a run? This is what it is like…sort of. Luckily, my boyfriend and I see the humour in it.
I struggle to eat and breathe at the same time which makes me embarrassed. So, I tend to eat my lunch somewhere private or else in a loud room where nobody will hear my little snorts.
I can’t walk up hills or long distances without getting tired and out of breath. I still try and push myself though. I’d say I am like a pug: struggles to breathe, makes little snorting sounds and uses all its energy on breathing and walking simultaneously.
With most things in my life, humour gets me through it. Although, having a hearty laugh can sometimes lead to a coughing fit.
Obviously, this is one person’s account of asthma. I’ve had it very lucky in comparison to so many people and their loved ones. I’ve more or less got it under control now but that’s not to say I don’t have bad days or I’ll never have a bad asthma attack again. It’s important that we continue to fund charities like Asthma UK so they can keep supporting so many people who are struggling with this chronic illness.
Let’s hope that I don’t stack it in front of a TV camera. If I do and someone sends it into LAD Bible, I’ll be taking that £100 (and donating it to Asthma UK of course).”
If you would like to donate to Asthma UK you can do so by following this link. Thank-you.