Anyone reading this who knows me will also know that just over 6 months ago my whole world was turned upside down by the sudden loss of my husband.
Iain was taken in the prime of his life at just 44, a devoted dad to Beth (15) and Josh (3), an adored husband (like you could not ever believe!) and a super fit marathon running Firefighter. Such a genuine caring guy who was loved so much by those around him, he had so much to live for and he had so much to give.
Sadly fate had other plans for him and he was taken by the insidious and brutal killer that is Sepsis. It does not care how old you are, how healthy you are, how happy you are or how much people love, want or need you in their lives.
Sepsis arises when the body’s response to an infection damages is own tissues and organs. In Iain’s case this led to multiple organ failure which he tried to fight with absolutely everything he had but it was it was a battle he couldn’t win. Despite extensive post mortem investigations following his death we still have no answers or clues as to the source or cause of the infection.
The loss of Iain has been and continues to be incomprehensible and what makes it even sadder is that every 4 hours someone in Scotland dies of Sepsis. Every 4 hours other families are going through similar devastation. This needs to change, it really doesn’t need to be the case.
I have been very aware over recent months of the watchful eyes looking for signs of me losing the plot (especially those particularly close to me who have had to witness a few near misses to be fair!). Well, I think that time has now come! I have decided that I will run the Stirling Marathon on 28 April this year in memory of Iain. Despite my love for running I have never attempted any race past a half marathon before and so to double that distance to 26.2 miles will definitely be a challenge for me and not just physically (plus I need lots of babysitting offers to fit in the training..I mostly like to run on Friday and Saturday nights!!). However, and joking aside, there are a few things that are driving me and will ensure that I do this:-
- For Iain – never in my life had I felt more loved or supported than during the time I was fortunate enough to have with Iain. I will be eternally grateful that I got to experience that even if it was cut far too short. He gave me so much confidence and belief in absolutely everything I was and everything I done. He told me always how proud he was of my achievements and despite some pretty pitiful 10k attempts over previous years he always maintained that I could and would run a marathon – that I just had to believe in myself. And so I will, for him and it will be the thought of him and how proud he would be of me completing it that will play such a huge part in seeing me through those miles.
- For the kids – to prove that no matter how cruel life can be sometimes it is possible to find courage and strength to achieve anything you want to or set out to do. I want to show Beth and Josh (and anyone else for that matter!) that they can't give in to this and must never give up trying even when life tries to deal us the worst hand ever and assurance that I remain strong for them.
- For me - selfishly to prove to myself that I still have the heart to overcome challenges and achieve things despite the biggest set back I could ever have imagined with the sad reality being that life needs to move forward. That if I can do this then I will have the strength of mind and belief in myself to go on and face all the things ahead in life that I will need to overcome as I raise Josh myself. Many of which are a pretty terrifying prospect at the moment.
But ultimately I want to do this to raise both awareness and funds for Sepsis Research – FEAT. Their main objective is to try to stop Sepsis through funding research into the early detection of the condition (among individuals and the medical profession) and its treatment as well as raising more awareness generally. There is not a day goes by that I do not wonder if things could have been different if only I had known more about this condition and known more about what to look for, if I had got help sooner. On the face of it the only indication that Iain was not his usual self was chest infection/flu like symptoms – too easy to dismiss as nothing to worry about! In hindsight had I known more about Sepsis – the symptoms and fatal consequences? Who knows!
Maybe however as we increase awareness the outcome for other people can be and will be very different. Symptoms noticed earlier, people not afraid to speak up or worry about bothering anyone, more medical understanding and more effective treatment given sooner…………more lives saved. Less families devastated when it could be avoided. For the record…symptoms include a very high or low temperature, uncontrolled shivering, confusion, cold or blotchy hands and feet, or not passing as much urine as normal.
I would be most grateful if you could spare a donation towards this, absolutely anything at all. Just £5 allows the purchase of essential chemicals needed by research teams for day to day experiments, £25 funds the training of a volunteer to offer sepsis awareness sessions in schools, community groups, workplaces etc. – to educate on the signs and symptoms to look out for which could save someone’s life.
Thank you so very much.