My name is Liz and I am part of the Retina UK Virgin Money London Marathon team this year. I have retinitis pigmentosa, and when I was first diagnosed I was given very little information from my doctors, which led me to ring the Retina UK helpline. I was given some really good advice, which made me want to give something back to the charity. I have a lovely guide dog called Yves, who is very cheeky and lovable. However for this challenge I will be running with my guide runner Stewart.
I love running, cycling and swimming, and have taken part in the Prudential Ride London 100 mile bike ride, the two mile Swim Serpentine, and once I’ve completed the London Marathon I will receive the London Challenge medal for doing all three. I also have a big love of cake which is why I run!
You can sponsor Liz by visiting her fundraising page.
I’m Ashley, I have RP, and I’m taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the third time, having run it previously in 2015 and 2017. I started running in May 2013 to try and keep fit and although I can’t easily run at night or on the roads due to my vision (I use a white cane when walking on my own) I run around the field behind my house and use a running machine in a shed at the bottom of the garden. Since the last Marathon in 2017 my eyes have deteriorated such that my registration has changed from partially sighted to severely sighted / blind with a visual field of no more than 3-5% of a person with ‘normal’ sight. Due to this I have been given a guide runner and am thrilled to say this is one of my closest friends Paul who will keep me running in the right direction.
I’m Stewart and I will be guiding Liz at the London Marathon this year. I’ve run eight marathons before, and have just got back from LA having run the marathon over there. I tried for seven years to get ballot entry for the London Marathon but I’ve never been lucky enough to get a place. It’s a privilege to get to run this race that I had longed to do, with someone so inspiring. Much like Liz, my Grandma Rose who is 103 is now blind, so it’s an honour to run for a charity so close to my heart.
At the age of 14 I was told that I had retinitis pigmentosa and that I would be totally blind by the time I reached 20 years old and that was it. I was just left to carry on with my life.
As I got older I discovered Retina UK, a charity that helps and supports people like myself. The charity also funds research projects in the hope of finding a cure – this was a real lifeline for me. I now have the opportunity to run the London Marathon and raise funds for this wonderful charity so that their good work can continue to help others.
We are running the London Marathon for Retina UK having seen first hand how inherited sight loss affects people and how important it is to fund further research and develop treatments in this area.
Our friend’s five year old daughter Vicky was diagnosed with Leber Congenital Amaurosis back in 2016 and her parents have been fighting every day since then to raise awareness and funding for research that can help find a treatment for this condition (currently there isn’t one).
Neither of us had one much long distance running before this, but back in January we threw ourselves into our training with enthusiasm and have been clocking up the weekly miles along the river in South West London ever since. It’s been challenging both physically and mentally at times, but keeping the bigger cause in mind and seeing the donations come in has helped us stay motivated across the past four months.
We are super excited for Sunday – wish us luck! And if you’d like to make a last minute donation to help calm our nerves, here’s our links: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rachel-runs-for-vicky / www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dan-runs-for-vicky.