I am happy to share that I have completed the 25km summer ultra challenge in recognition of the contributions raised to support LUPUS UK.
My daughter Allison fell very ill in late March, and through most of April she was hospitalised with an eventual diagnosis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Lupus is an autoimmune disease with no cure and can potentially cause significant damage to the organs – kidneys, joints, lungs, etc.
In Allison’s case, there was some damage to her kidneys – thankfully, without permanent impairment – but the kidneys remain damaged today, as a reminder of the dangers of this disease. I wanted to raise awareness of the lupus disease itself and started this fundraising campaign the moment Allison was discharged from hospital in late April. There are approximately 50,000 Brits impacted by the disease, 1.5m Americans, and at least 5m around the world.
Since then, I have received over 100 generous contributions bringing in almost £8,500 and have successfully requested BP to match another £4k. This walk is dedicated of course to Allison, and each one of you who have sent so many warm messages and contributed to the cause. Some even did the challenge with me virtually from other countries (you superstars know who you are!).
I am also very proud of my other daughter Abigail. She knew that her younger sister was very ill and, in her little way, wanted to contribute by joining me in this challenge. I didn’t see any other kids her age that Saturday – I suspect she was the youngest participant.
As would be expected in the UK, we had three seasons on that day – warm summer sunshine greeted us at the start, temperature circa 20/23C (around 70F), before the cool of autumn kicked in with temperatures falling to 18C (mid 60s F), and then we had torrential downpour for about 30 minutes as we reached the Thames barrier as can be seen below. It was largely flat ground that took us through foot tunnels from south of the Thames to the north and back, through city landscapes, an airport, parklands, and ended near the hospital where Allison was first treated.
I wanted to share this little photo diary with everyone as a little thank you for all your support. Allison is doing much better now and sends her love to all.
Thank you once again.
From Allison, Abigail and Eric
At the start – Allison giving Abigail a warm send off. Abigail, at 11 yrs, was a late entrant, and also possibly the youngest, but showed significant resilience to make all of us proud:
Around 5km by London City Airport:
Around 10km with the O2 in the background – legs still holding strong but darker clouds appearing:
At the halfway point at the Royal Naval College where Allison came and met us to give us a bit of much needed cheering up:
The rain came just before the Thames Barrier (21km) and I was absolutely drenched but Abigail has a hi-vis all weather jacket to keep her dry:
The last 2km – the route took us past the hospital where Allison was initially admitted:
Proud finishers – the last 3km after the Thames Barrier included a steep flight of stairs – 120 steps I counted. That was not necessary!
The twist and turns in the long route – reflective of the ups and downs of Allison’s journey when she was ill. Eventually, we got to the end – the subsequent pain was worth it knowing it’s for an amazing cause.
Thank you Eric for sharing your photo-diary with us. Since writing this article, the total Eric and Abigail have raised with this walk has reached an incredible £11,747 for LUPUS UK! Thank you for all your hard work and for braving the ever-changing London weather.