Journal of IiMER Volume 10 Issue 1 I was very impressed with what they had achieved given the fact that the work is done entirely on a voluntary/nonsalaried basis; compared to other charities they seemed to be the only ones doing anything really pro-active to help people get better. It’s not my first sponsored challenge for biomedical ME research; I led a team to visit 92 football grounds in 92 hours in 2014 on a trip where we raised over £4000, were featured in 11 TV regions, BBC radio and over 70 football club matchday programmes. It was on this trip that we felt a huge wave of support from ME patients and their families, not just on social media where they really kept us going, but also when they turned up at the grounds to wish us well, often with food, sponsorship and their stories to tell. We met sufferers in wheelchairs, really ill young children, people of all ages and severities. It really was a life-changing experience: they were all such nice people who through no fault of their own were ill and weren’t getting any help. When the challenge was done, I felt that I really couldn’t just leave things there. Most weren’t well enough to fight for funding and attention themselves and with very few people around to stand up for them I had to find something bigger and carry on; I think the injustice of their June 2016 situation really angered me (and still does) if I’m honest. On to this challenge and I can tell you that I’ve done 5 so far: London (UK), Prague (Czech Rep), Helsinki (Finland), Dublin (Ireland) and Thessaloniki (Greece). I’ve met with charities, media and patients and it’s been an incredible experience; everyone has been really receptive and super-friendly. Since I started the challenge last May, I’ve acquired over 1000 followers, £3200 in donations and clocked up nearly 2000 miles in training. I’m not a natural runner by any stretch, I’m short, not very sporty and pretty ignorant when it comes to technique (mental and physical). But like all good underdogs, as with the people I run for and represent, I’m determined and up for the challenge despite the cost, lifestyle change and commitment required. I’m driven by the good wishes and support from the friends I’ve made within the community as well as the gross injustice that I’m seeing with regards to the treatment of ME patients. The support I’ve had makes it really easy to carry on. Having done the UK previously (I may well do it again at the end to wrap things up!), my 1st race and return to running was in Prague. Prior to the race I met the family of an ME patient there with connections to their leading ME charity. Invest in ME (Charity Nr. 1114035) www.investinme.org Page 34 of 77

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