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Why I’m running for people with mesothelioma

Alexandra is running 3 half marathons to raise money for mesothelioma support groups.

Alex in training
Alex in training

When I pulled into the car park to attend a mesothelioma support group, I had no idea this would be one of the most moving mornings of my life. I went as part of my medical studies, to learn about local support groups for people with long-term health conditions. It exceeded all my expectations.

As well as people with mesothelioma and their families, there were solicitors, specialist nurses and other health care professionals willing to support every need and answer any question.

Discovering the devastating effects of mesothelioma

I didn’t know much about mesothelioma, so people told me their experiences. The main cause of mesothelioma is breathing in asbestos dust. Asbestos was banned in the late 1990s, but before then it was commonly used to insulate and fireproof buildings, and in ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and spray coatings. Mesothelioma takes a long time to develop, so it’s only in recent years we’ve seen its devastating effects. It was heart-breaking to hear about these amazing people suffering, simply for going to work.

I talked to a man who had been bedridden for 5 weeks – until that morning. He said these meetings were one of the only things that kept him going and – between tears - told me he was so glad he came. It showed me the amazing work the support group does, providing a space for people to talk to others who understand exactly what they’re going through.

I wanted to do something to help

Alex in training

I’m not really a runner, but that morning I decided to run to fundraise for the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund (MKMRF), part of the British Lung Foundation. I signed up for 3 half marathons – Edinburgh, Kielder and the Great North Run – doing my training in between my medical studies. Training is going well, although for 4 weeks I was in Cape Verde training in 30-degree heat with nowhere but the beach to run! I successfully ran Edinburgh in May 2019.

MKMRF really shines because they give tremendous support to people with mesothelioma and their families. Everyone I met that morning made clear to me how their life had been improved by these meetings. This support really helps people have the best possible quality of life. Knowing that I’m doing something to help keeps me motivated with my training and pushes me to cross the finish line.

To read more about Alexandra’s story, take a look at her Just Giving page.

Do you have a story to tell? It could be about your lung condition, a friend or relative you know who lives with one, or how caring for them impacts your life. We'd love to hear what you've got to say!

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31 August 2019