My name is Melissa and I ran the London Marathon in October 2021 for Kidney Care UK.
When I say that I was not a runner, I truly mean that I was not a runner. I was a sporty kid at school and at university, but running was nothing natural to me and I could only ever run a couple of miles before I would draw the line. That being said, every year, without fail, my family and I would sit and watch the London Marathon. I would be in awe of everyone who was doing it and I would tell my parents, each year, that I too wanted to do the London Marathon.
My dad, the ever supportive (but very realistic) parent, would religiously tell me that IF (and it was a big if) I did it then he would be there every step of the way.
"Kidney Care UK really did become our second family"
My dad was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in 2010 and underwent a lifesaving kidney transplant in 2014. My dad struggled mentally with his diagnosis, but Kidney Care UK provided my dad, and our family, with incredible support. They also gave us hope and, quite literally, a shoulder to cry on whenever we needed it. As clichéd as it sounds, Kidney Care UK really did become our second family.
On 16 February 2021, after spending much of 2020 isolating, my dad sadly passed away from Covid-19 — leaving us, as a family, completely heartbroken.
My dad lived 7 years with his transplant and in those 7 years, plus the 4 years before, my dad’s passion for supporting the work that Kidney Care UK do for kidney patients, and their families, only grew. As a family, we know that without Kidney Care UK my dad’s life would have been completely different and it wouldn’t have been so positive.
"I wanted to celebrate those who go through life with kidney disease and raise awareness"
When I was offered a chance to run the London Marathon for Kidney Care UK, a couple of months after my dad passed away, I quickly snapped it up. I wanted to give something back to the charity that gave my dad, me, and my family, so much for so many years. But I also wanted to celebrate those who go through life with kidney disease and raise awareness of the amazing work that Kidney Care UK do!
From the very first day that I accepted my position at the London Marathon, Kidney Care UK were there! I honestly never felt like I was doing this alone. We had email conversations, regular letters and a WhatsApp group with everyone else who was also running for Kidney Care UK. They would give us tips and tricks for training and any help we needed with our fundraising. The Events team support was literally a dream!
Raising £2,000 is no mean feat! And, hand on heart, I didn’t think that I could raise that amount of money when I first started but I was prepared to give it my best shot. I started a Just Giving page very early on and posted it on social media. I also started a running Instagram account and used it to post my training progress for people to see (it was very cringe at times, but I am glad that I did it just so I can look back on it).
"I never thought that I could raise as much money as I did and I didn’t want to stop (running and raising money!)"
Because of the pandemic, things like bake sales and bag packing were not allowed. So, I had to think outside of the box. I had a huge pile of books that I had read since the start of the pandemic. I decided to wrap them up in brown paper, pop a little note in explaining my story and that I was raising money for Kidney Care UK, and put my Just Giving Page link in there as well. I placed the books in all over Sheffield, Nottingham and Manchester for people to pick up. People actually donated off of the back of it which was crazy but amazing!
I raised just over £3000. I never thought that I could raise as much money as I did and when I finished the Marathon I didn’t want to stop (running and raising money that is!). So, I signed myself up for the London Landmarks Half Marathon as soon as I could and began my mission to raise £5,000 for Kidney Care UK (Couch to £5000 style). I have well and truly caught the running bug and I have even become one of those people that casually run a 10km before work.
I will never be able to repay Kidney Care UK for everything that they did for our family, but I hope, by raising money, that I can give other families the opportunity to get the same support we did.
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