In this guest blog Jessica Armstrong shares her reasons for running the Virgin Money London Marathon this year in aid of MS-UK…
My name is Jessica. I was born and raised in a small town just outside of Toronto Canada. My partner and I moved to London in August 2016 with the plan to work in another country and travel Europe. When I first moved here I never had any plan to run a marathon. To be honest, I’d never in my life even thought of trying to attempt to run a marathon; the idea seemed impossible to me! However, my career as a Certified Athletic Therapist led me to working in a clinic that specialises in treating runners, many of whom run the London Marathon. I had no idea the hype around the London Marathon. I figured it was just another marathon. Little did I know the next year and a half of my life would be changed because of it.
When I was about 10 years old I remember my parents sitting my sister and I down at the kitchen table. They told us that my Dad had been diagnosed with something called multiple sclerosis. Being 10 years old all I really wanted to know was, what would happen to my Dad? My parents simple answer was, “we aren’t really sure.” I’m sure they tried to explain more, but those are the two bits that I remember most: thinking what is this condition that I could barely pronounce and feeling like it wasn’t that big of a deal because Dad looked normal. Fast-forward 18 years and my fathers’ initial diagnosis of relapse remitting is now secondary progressive. He now faces daily challenges completing tasks that most of us take for granted.
January 2017 I began treating many runners who were taking part in the London Marathon. Some were elite level runners and others were embarking on a journey completely new to them. While their efforts in training were amazing, it was their reasons for running that led me to applying for the marathon. I found it admirable the change they were trying to achieve with their fundraising and I decided I wanted to make a difference too!
It has been the support from friends, family and the Canadian MS Society that have helped to make each challenge my Dad has had to face a bit easier. After learning about what MS-UK does for those living with MS and their families I knew I wanted to run for them!
I’ve set myself a goal of £2,500. I am excited to be hosting my very first pub quiz as my main fundraising event alongside a couple smaller events leading up to the day. A “Guess My Time” poster has proven to be a fun way to get my clients involved in my journey to helping raise funds for MS-UK.
These events along with the tremendous support from family and friends will hopefully help me to reach my goals and help MS-UK continue to make a difference for those living with MS and their families in the UK.