In 2019 I am running all 26.2 miles of the London Marathon to support the MS Society. This is part of several years of fundraising which will see me cycle solo across America in 2020 - raising money for MS research and raising awareness of Mental Health.
I should probably start by saying that I am not a natural runner. I've done several long distance bike rides, although I've not been on the bike for more than an hour since 2014. Last year I had a depressive episode and so did no exercise at all for about 4 months much of which was spent unemployed or working from home. I outgrew most of my clothes and gained a significant paunch. I knew I needed a new project to help give me a sense of purpose and do something I could be proud of. So, naturally, I decided to cycle across America and run my first marathon. I announced this before trying anything more than running for a train. The more running I do, the more I look forward to crossing the finish line in London so I can focus on the much less daunting task of cycling between New York and San Francisco.
So, why am I putting myself through this? My mum was diagnosed with MS when I was a teenager. Every day it steals a little bit of my mum. This has had a huge impact on both of our lives - you can read some words I wrote about what it's like to grow up with a mum who has MS at https://antonyjcbutcher.com/2014/02/12/ms-and-me/
I know that my mum will never get better. MS is a one way journey. Things will only continue to get worse.
But maybe, together, we can help fund research that will prevent others from suffering at the hands of this debilitating condition.
MS is an unpredictable and incurable condition that affects people's nervous systems. It can attack suddenly or progress steadily, bringing a range of symptoms which can include sight loss, incontinence, fatigue and mobility problems. No-one with MS can be sure when or how it will affect them next.The MS Society fund vital research into the causes of MS and possible treatments. They provide a helpline service, answering the calls of those looking for advice and support.