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I'm 16 and living with ILD - now I'm taking on a fun run!

Nathan is 16, but he was only 2 when he lost his dad to IPF. Now he's been diagnosed with interstitial lung disease, but he won't let that stop him from taking on the Milton Keynes' Fun Run. 

Nathan with his stepdad Andy

I didn’t know much about my dad. I know he was a loving and caring guy, but he died in 2005, when I was only 2 years old because of IPF - idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

I got screened for IPF earlier this year. They said I have interstitial lung disease. I describe it to people as being like a diluted version of what my dad had. It’s kind of the same thing, but half as bad, at the moment. I don’t really notice it but I know it will get worse in the future.

When I was first diagnosed, I felt pretty scared.

When I was first diagnosed, I felt pretty scared. It definitely bugged me and was on my mind. But I decided there was nothing I can do about it.

Now I’m living my life to the fullest. If I wake up, and there’s something I want to do that day, I’ll go and do it.

I wanted to help other people 

My stepdad Andy has been really supportive of me. He ran a 10k in London earlier this year, to raise money for Macmillan, which got me thinking. I thought if I raise money for the British Lung Foundation, then it can help families like mine, and families of people who’ve passed away from lung disease. 

Now I’m living my life to the fullest.

We decided to sign up for the Milton Keynes Fun Run together! I’m going to wear a tutu, and I’m trying to convince my stepdad to wear one too! 

Training is really difficult, but we’re getting through it. We take a lot of breaks for walking.

I won't let lung disease hold me back

In a way, having a lung disease has really motivated me. One day I know it’s going to really affect me, and I’m not going to be able to do things like run a 5k. So now, I want to run, and enjoy myself while I can.

I’ve actually just been on a long distance bike ride - I’ve never done that before! I’m taking up sailing as well, and even fencing! I saw it on TV and I was like, I want to try that. So I did. 

I'm still a normal person

Part of the reason I'm doing the fun run is to show people that even though I’m suffering, and others with lung conditions are suffering, we can still do things like normal people.

I don’t want to be treated differently because of my lung condition. A few days ago, I posted on my Facebook to tell everyone, look, this is what I’ve been diagnosed with. And yes, it’s a kick in the face, but I still get up and do what I want to do - like the fun run! 

I don’t want to be treated differently because of my lung condition.

I hope that by raising awareness of IPF, and money for the British Lung Foundation, it will help other people with lung conditions by going to researching a cure, and support families who are suffering.

I’m not going to let it hold me back!


Comments

What an inspirational young man!  I sincerely hope you have many happy and healthy years ahead of you.  Hopefully we continue the fight against lung disease and find a cure before it effects you.
What a wonderful young man you are. Keep going with that hunger in your belly to help others. You truly are inspirational and I hope you continue to make a difference to many people's lives as you are right now.
You are an inspiration young man and doing yourself proud and everyone around you , I hope you have many success stories ahead. x

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16 September 2018