I am running the Stirling Marathon on 29th April, followed by half marathons in Edinburgh and Alloa on 27th May and 3rd June, to raise money for Invest in ME Research - an independent UK charity funding biomedical research into Myalgic Encephalomyelitis - otherwise known as ME.
ME is a severe long term illness that blights a life entirely, resulting in greater functional impairment than Multiple Sclerosis or Cancer - but it's a condition largely ignored or misunderstood by the majority of the public - 'for people who don't feel like going to work today' as Ricky Gervais once put it. I'm ashamed to admit that was pretty much my view too until a few years ago, when my previously perfectly healthy sister-in-law contracted the condition. Without going all X Factor on you the effect on her has been devastating - she has had to give up her job and is mainly housebound, having to use a wheelchair on the rare occasions she is able to venture out.
Research is still in its infancy and more studies are needed to identify it's cause and develop treatments. I've chosen to raise money for this particular charity as it run entirely by volunteers - patients or parents of children with ME - with no paid staff. Overheads are kept to a minimum and every penny raised goes to promoting education of, and funding for biomedical research into, ME. Invest in ME are focused on setting up a UK Centre of Excellence for ME which will provide proper examinations, diagnosis and, in time, treatments and cures.
All of which means the least I can do to help is drag my ageing bones around 26.2 miles - and your support in helping me do this would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you so much.