Yes, you guessed it, marathon running is the ultimate fundraising-favourite, and this year saw three enthusiastic runners race for Breathing Matters, part of UCLH Charity which funds research into pulmonary fibrosis and lung infections at UCL Respiratory, one of the world’s leading research centres for respiratory conditions.
Lee Eldridge completed three races that made up 105km, including the Limassol half-marathon in Cyprus and finishing with the London Marathon. Colin Bathe and Tracy Elsdon also ran in the city that is close to our hearts here at UCLH. But why did they run for Breathing Matters?
All of the runners have been personally affected by pulmonary fibrosis and experienced or witnessed first-hand the devastating effects that the disease can have on someone’s life. They therefore wish to raise funds for UCL Respiratory – a centre that promotes and conducts medical research into the prevention, treatment and cure of this debilitating disease.
Runner number one, Colin Bathe, has sadly lost four of his family members to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and a fifth has been recently been diagnosed. “Running for Breathing Matters was an easy decision to make”, he says. “Like most, I hadn’t heard of IPF before, until my mother was diagnosed and later passed away in 2010.” Colin explains that those who suffer with the disease commonly experience scarring of the lung and this causes them to struggle to draw breath, all of which is extremely difficult to watch a loved one endure.
He continues, “As IPF has a low profile, research into the disease is rarely funded. And that’s what is so great about Breathing Matters, a charity dedicated to this cause at UCLH.”
Colin is right to say that IPF has a low profile, and unfortunately this also applies to all of the lung diseases that Breathing Matters support. Donna Basire, Fundraising Manager for Breathing Matters, says that this is why raising the profile of such diseases is so important. Only through awareness, will more funds be directed for research to find better ways to diagnose and treat these diseases.
Like Colin, Lee Eldridge is also witnessing his mother battle through pulmonary fibrosis, and he has similar reasons as Colin for running. He says, “Running the 105km is something I wanted to do for my mother, as well as all the other people who suffer from the disease. Approximately 6000 people in the UK are diagnosed with IPF every year and there is currently no cure for the disease, partly due to the cause being unknown. I hope that one day, the research at UCLH can make a difference.”
Lastly, Tracy Elsdon has a friend at work who recently lost her father to pulmonary fibrosis and decided to run for Breathing Matters to raise the profile of the diseases and the charity. “Only with awareness and research can we find answers to such devastating diseases. I’m so glad that I could contribute to such a worthy cause.”
Do you want to get involved with Breathing Matters? Then it’s good timing, as upcoming June 11th 2017, the charity is organising a fundraising cycling bonanza, Cyclotopia which will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Why not get involved and fundraise for them? http://www.uclhcharity.org.uk/cyclotopia
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