A DEVOTED husband whose wife suffers from an extremely rare lung condition will join a host of other runners from East Lancashire to complete the London Marathon on Sunday.
Matt Sharples, from Huncoat, hopes to raise £4,000 for LAM Action – a charity that supports women with lymphan- gioleiomyomatosis (known as LAM), a disorder that his wife, Sarah, was diagnosed with in 2011.
LAM is a rare disorder that affects only 120 people in the UK.
It occurs only in women and is generally diagnosed in women of childbearing age. It mainly affects the lungs, where an abnormal type of cell builds up.
This build-up occurs around the airways, blood vessels and the lymph vessels and can lead to cysts developing in the lung and breathing problems.
The condition can also cause benign tumours in the kidneys and cause bleeding.
There is no cure for LAM and little effective treatment available. The disease is progressive and over time, destroys lung tissue and erodes lung function.
Matt says: “My wife was found to have a 9cm tumour in her kidney and of course, we were all devastated, thinking it was cancer.
“When it was found to be benign, Sarah had to go for tests and was eventually found to have LAM.
“It hasn’t been easy, but she is just so determined. She never, ever lets it get her down and she’s just amazing.
“She’s had a lot of health problems throughout her whole life and she’s always just taken it on the chin.”
LAM Action are aiming to raise £75,000 this year to continue to fund their supportive work.
Matt will be limbering up on Sunday along with his best mate Steven Gifford-Dixon but they aren’t the only runners from East Lancashire hoping to raise cash and beat their bests.
Andy Smith from Darwen is running the 26.1-mile course to raise money for Derian House hospice in Chorley.
Andy said: “I have visited Derian House and have felt the emotion of the place.
“It’s close to my heart and is a very important place for my family. I’ve already got £400 in sponsorship.”
The 46-year-old printer at Graham and Brown has run the London Marathon eight times before and so knows what to expect from the event.
“Knowing what to expect isn’t such a good thing in this instance – there’s some things in life where the unknown would be better.
“It’s a very difficult race but it’s a great occasion and the atmosphere is just terrific.”
Stephen Clough, from Pendle, will run the marathon to raise money for Scope and Paul Howe, from Blackburn, will run in memory of his older brother who died last year at 32 and raise money for children’s charity Plan UK .
How to sponsor
To sponsor Matt Sharples, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/fsaccountants
To sponsor Andy Smith, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/andysmith
To sponsor Stephen Clough, http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/stephenclough