RUNNING a marathon is no small feat for anyone, but for a 50-year-old with a string of medical problems – including having only one functioning kidney, a heart attack 10 years ago, high blood pressure and Coeliac disease – it’s even more of a challenge.
But grandma Wendy Rossall is determined not to let the conditions and health problems she has stop her.
Wendy, from Layton, will be running 26 miles in April, for a cause very close to her heart.
Her little grandson William Jack Berry was still-born in August 2011, leaving the whole family devastated.
A scan at 19 weeks into Wendy’s daughter Sophie’s pregnancy showed anomalies and William was diagnosed with several conditions, which made the chances of him surviving very small.
But the family has thrown themselves into fund-raising for SANDS (Still birth and Neo Natal Deaths) charity.
They held a walk that November, called William’s Walk, organised by Sophie and fiance Carl.
And Wendy is calling her marathon effort William’s Walk Continues.
Wendy, who also has a son Sam, 21, and a grand-daughter Megan, aged three, said: “I know people might think a marathon is no big deal – lots of people do it. But I’m not like everyone else.
“When I was 21, during a routine appointment, I was found to have ridiculously high blood pressure and was diagnosed as having a chronic kidney disease.
“I have only one functioning kidney, I was told never to have children, although I have had two.
“I have developed hypertensive retinopathy – which left untreated and unmonitored can lead to blindness.
“I also have coeliac disease, hypothyroidism, and have to follow a strict gluten-free diet.
“I have osteoarthritis in my neck, and I had a heart attack at the age of 40. I take at least eight tablets a day.
“So, when I hit 50, I wanted to do something and decided to do a marathon.
“I started running when we found out William was poorly, because I suffered from depression and my GP said exercise would help. I started off walking, then jogging a bit.
“I don’t run fast or anything, but I do feel so much better for doing it.
“I thought a marathon would be a good challenge and I wanted to do it in William’s memory.
“I also want to show other people that despite having lots of medical problems, you can still achieve whatever you want, if you put your mind to it.
“I’m so grateful to the staff at The Vic and at Newton Drive Medical Centre for keeping me alive. And I have to thank Sophie and Sam for their support.
“I’ve done the Race for Life and a couple of half-marathons. I found it really tough but I crossed the finished line.
“I am doing William’s Walk Continues because all the things I have wrong with me pale into insignificance with losing my grandson.
“I am still walking, he never got the chance.”
Anyone who would like to sponsor Wendy can do so by going to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/WendyRossall.