This page is all about you our runners. It’s the chance to tell your stories and let everyone know about your journey to the finish line. We are all different with different challenges and tales to tell – but we are all Unleashed Performance Reading Half and Green Park Challenge runners!
If you have a story to share, please email us at email@example.com
In March 2016, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease. Unfortunately, the disease had spread so much that the only way to save my life was to undergo ileostomy surgery. The surgery was a success, but meant I had to live life with a stoma bag (colostomy bag).
Life after surgery became very difficult both physically and mentally. After suffering significant weight and muscle loss, I had to learn to walk again, while managing my new body and its needs. Mentally, it was extremely difficult to come to terms with being physically different. All I wanted was to get back to normal. I soon realised the normal was never going happen and it was time for me to create my new normal. Now it's time to embrace it.
I have always tried to test my boundaries both physically and mentally since the operation, so this time I wanted to push even further. This is why I'm choosing to run the Unleashed Performance Reading Half Marathon. Hopefully it can inspire people that no matter what your body goes through, you can go and achieve so much. You just need to push your boundaries and find a method that works.
I'm running the race on behalf of the stoma department at the RBH. The Stoma nurse team provides such a warm and supportive environment for those living with a stoma. This is something that the team is so passionate about, and I know the patients will really benefit from this extra care, as living with a stoma is mentally challenging to say the least.
Life isn't about I can't, but rather I can't YET. See you at the finish line!
Laura & Charlie's story
Berkshire mum Laura Turner was putting her two-month-old son, Charlie, into his car seat ready to leave the house for a baby music class when suddenly she was transported from an everyday situation into every parent’s worst nightmare.
Charlie’s normal newborn cry suddenly changed to a more strained sound that Laura hadn’t heard him make before. She realised with a jolt that he had stopped breathing. Quickly taking him out of his seat, Laura felt her baby was floppy and had gone a grey colour. Remembering seeing that there was blood coming out of Charlie’s nose, Laura recalls: “I thought that was it. I thought he was gone.”
At home alone, she had a moment of panic before her instincts kicked in. Laura says, “something just took over. I knew what I had to do.”
Laura had done a first aid course while pregnant with Charlie, so she knew how to give him rescue breaths. She called 999 and a few minutes later, Charlie started breathing slowly. Holding her son in the baby recovery position, Laura began the agonising wait for the emergency services to arrive. “It was only six minutes until the ambulance service and Thames Valley Air Ambulance crew got to us. But those were the longest six minutes of my life. It felt like forever.”
Once help was on hand, the rest is a blur. The Thames Valley Air Ambulance paramedics and doctors, who had arrived by helicopter, worked with South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) to get Charlie stable and he was taken to the Royal Berkshire hospital.
Laura went with Charlie in the ambulance and remembers that Charlie’s dad met them at the hospital. “It was then that I broke down”, she says, “until that point, I had no choice but to be strong for Charlie. The reality of what we had been through just suddenly dawned on me.”
Thankfully, Charlie is now a healthy, happy three-year-old. A chatty boy who loves to learn, he is thriving at pre-school.
Laura is saying thank you in a very real way this April when she runs the Unleashed Performance Reading Half Marathon. As well as finding the training positive for her physical and mental health, Laura says “I wanted to be able to give something back. I didn’t even realise Thames Valley Air Ambulance was a charity before they helped Charlie and now I want to do anything I can to help.”
Charlie has been told about what happened to him when he was a baby and is currently taking on the SCAS ‘outrun the ambulance’ challenge on his bike, accompanying Laura on her training runs.
Who is betting against Charlie being the loudest cheerer of all, in the stadium on April 3rd?