In our latest guest blog, Julie Squires tells us about why she decided to run the Virgin Sport British 10k at the tender age of 50.
I met my partner David 13 years ago on 02 July 2005. He told me straight away that he had multiple sclerosis (MS) and to be honest, at that time, I knew little about the illness.
We went out on a Saturday night but David had told me he couldn’t have too late an evening as he was up early Sunday to run the Virgin Sport British 10k raising funds for an MS charity.
I knew I must have liked him a lot as I dragged myself out of bed at 6am to head up to London to watch him run!
So when I decided to take up running earlier this year at the grand old age of 50, David said it would be good if I ran the Virgin Sport British 10k, just like he had 13 years ago. This gave me something to focus on (as when I started I couldn’t run to the end of the road, never mind 10k)! But here I am, seven months later, running 10k at least once a week thanks to the ‘Beginners to Runners’ Ashford Club and David for giving me something to aim for.
David was diagnosed with Relapse Remitting MS when he was 32. I didn’t know him then but can only imagine the shock of learning something so life changing.
David has pushed himself to make the most of what he is able to do now rather than putting it off until later, which we can all be guilty of. Since I met him he has achieved so much in defiance of his MS.
He got his motor racing licence, he’s taken up cycling and keeps himself as fit as possible. He wouldn’t be able to run anymore, but he has found other things to do to make sure he’s as fit as he possibly can be.
So this one’s for you David Williams. You are a true inspiration. You are always so positive in the face of this horrible illness. Yes, there are hard times, but we get through them and our beautiful son and I could not love you more.
On Sunday a team of 50 people braved the scorching heat to complete the Virgin Sport British 10k for MS-UK and turn the streets of London purple!
The runners included eight from Carter Backer Winter (CBW), an accountancy firm based in the capital who have named MS-UK as their charity of the year, and a team of 30 Slimming World members who have so far raised an enormous £12,528! One of the members who lives with multiple sclerosis (MS) took part in her self-propelled wheelchair and managed to walk the last ten metres, bringing tears to the eyes of friends and family, as well as the spectators who had gathered to watch.
The atmosphere on the day was electric! Live music was played at every kilometre to motivate runners and keep the party going! A huge thank you to our volunteers for their cheerleading, whistle blowing and megaphone shouting in support of the MS-UK team. We couldn’t do these events without your support.
Lucy, our Community Fundraiser, took part in the race with her mum, brother and friends. She said: ‘We all had so much fun running the British 10k and representing #TeamPurple yesterday.
‘It was a scorching hot day but there was plenty of water being handed (and squirted!) out to help us on our way.
‘The atmosphere was absolutely amazing. There were drummers and DJs, and the MS-UK cheer point at the 5km mark was the loudest by far!’
#TeamPurple all have their own personal reasons for running the Virgin Sport British 10k for MS-UK, but are united by the fact they have all made a huge difference with the funds they have raised. Thanks to your support, we can keep providing our unique services to anyone affected by MS across the UK.
Jenny, Events Fundraiser.
Have our runners inspired you to take on a new challenge? Take part in an event for MS-UK today!
This month our fundraiser of the month is Joshua Joseph. Joshua ran the British 10k for us on 09 July and has been fundraising for the last month in support of MS-UK! Here is his story...
My name is Joshua Joseph, I’m 25 years old and I fundraised for MS-UK in the Virgin Sport British 10K run.
I chose MS-UK because very recently my best friend was diagnosed with MS. It’s in its infant stages, however I felt so lost and scared that the only thing I could do was try to raise some money and support the cause the only way I knew how. I did the British 10K in the past and thought this would be a good place to get fit and do something that showed support for my best friend.
In all honesty, I chose MS-UK because when I was looking online I really liked what I saw, plus I really liked the logo! I remember the day I found out about my best friend, this run literally came into my head and I thought it had to be done, that was my only drive to do this event.
I tend to keep quite fit, however cardio is my kryptonite, I think it always will be. I found myself out on some of the hottest days of the year, doing an odd 3K, 4K here and there. I remember one day I did an 8K and my knee was killing me, which made me realise that I needed to wear a strap when running. I wanted to have little sachets of peanut butter, but because of sheer laziness, that didn’t work out lol. I thoroughly enjoyed my training, I think that’s one thing you need to do. It’s a very serious thing and doing it really helps to get your mind in the right place. Training really allowed me to understand exactly how much my body could take.
I managed to raise (at the time of writing this) £1,206, my target was £1,000. I originally thought of aiming for £500 as I thought that might have been a push, however my friend said, ‘Go for a grand, you can do it…’ – So I did. I made the page on JustGiving.com and put the link on my Instagram and Facebook. I think because a lot of my friends have a large social following, the message spread quite quickly, that and the fact my first donation was £200, which came from a very close friend of mine, so that gave me a good bumper to start my fundraising.
In terms of fundraising, I would say don’t be shy when it comes to telling people that you’re raising money for something, especially when it’s such a great cause. I will continue to raise and I will continue to push myself to do different things.
This has been an amazing journey.
I honestly don’t think it’s set in for me that my best friend has MS yet. He was there when I was born, he named me, I honestly can’t think of a time we didn’t speak. So if by raising money, or simply answering a text or call when he’s annoyed is all I can do, I’m going to try my best to take care of him.
The British 10k is today in London, and time to put all the hard training to the test that our wonderful runners have been training for over the last few months. This year we have a team of 23 runners, who have currently raised between them £5,500 for MS-UK which is amazing!
I just wanted to wish our MS-UK team, and everyone else who is taking part in the event a massive GOOD LUCK! I’m sure you will smash it!
We have a cheer point on Duncannon Street, which is near Trafalgar Square. If you are in London, feel free to come and join us and help us be the loudest cheer point on the 10k route.
If you want to take part for us next year do get in touch with me by email and I can pop you on a list to contact when we know next year’s date. The minimum fundraising requirement is £200 which is really achievable.
Now, go have an amazing day!
In this guest blog, Gemma tells us why she is running the British 10K 2017 for MS-UK...
Hi my name is Gemma, and I’m going to be taking part in the British 10K 2017 for MS-UK.
In April 2005 I met James. From the moment we met we just clicked as if we had known each other for years. There and then I knew I had met my best friend and the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and we have been together ever since.
In December 2006 I finished work as usual and walked home to get dinner on, ready for when James arrived home from work. When he stepped in the door I noticed that half of his face had dropped. At first I thought he had had a mini stroke!
While we waited for the taxi to beep that it was here, to take us up to A&E we discussed what it could be. ‘MS’ James said. His mum passed away when he was 9 years old. She had MS and was bed ridden. She had pneumonia and was not strong enough to fight it when she sadly passed away.
At the hospital he was told that he had to stay in over night to be monitored to then have an MRI test in the morning. I had to say goodbye and that night I stayed with my in-laws.
In the morning my phone rang. It was James. I answered it and he was just sobbing. At first I couldn’t make out what he was saying. ‘Demyelination’ he said. ‘What does that mean?’ I replied. ‘MS’.
That was the day our life changed for ever. At first we thought it was a death sentence. But it isn’t, it just means that you have to grab hold of life now!
In November 2007 we had our first child, a beautiful baby girl. But James was struggling at work. He is a fully qualified chef and has a passion for food. But little did we know that the heat/stress of the kitchen was flaring up his MS. So he went into butchery the following year but this also became difficult too. This was hard for me to watch.
In September 2009 we had our second child, a handsome baby boy. Our family was complete but James was now having 3-5 relapses a year. He was told to give up work. Every time he got over one e.g. loss of legs, sight. Another would hit him. I was now not working, to care for him too. He was also now on beta interferons injections. These were very painful and didn’t seem to be slowing the disease down, this scared me.
In August 2010 we moved from Norfolk to Hertfordshire. New doctors, new neurologist, new MS Nurse, it wasn’t easy. The relapses were still happening violently, especially on his left side.
In June 2011 James started Natalizumab (Tysabri) infusions every 28 days, these have been working, thankfully he hasn’t had a relapse since starting them.
It’s now 2017 and for the first time I feel like we have got this. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a massive hurdle in our life and there are good days and bad but you just have to try your best to adapt, to find a way to try and be a so-called ‘normal’ family.
I am doing this run now as I feel the time is right. James is my hero, he never moans, he just takes it one day at a time. I’m so proud of him and the way he handles it. Now it’s my turn to make him proud and be his hero.
I also want to show our children if you put your mind to something you can achieve anything.