Double marathon challenge for cystic fibrosis sufferer

A 22 year old with cystic fibrosis plans to defy illness and expectations by completing two marathons in April.

Thursday, 17th November 2016, 10:00 am
Updated Thursday, 17th November 2016, 3:18 pm
Dam Cummins and James Holford

James Holford, from Burgess Hill, and his friend Dan Cummins are taking on the Brighton Marathon and the London Marathon in 2017.

James told the Middy that very few people with cystic fibrosis have ever completed a marathon, let alone two in a fortnight.

“We are doing this to raise awareness of cystic fibrosis in a fight to find a cure and to prove anything is possible in a life when living a terminal illness,” he said.

“I am under no illusions as to how difficult this task is going to be but it is something I am very determined to complete.

“I imagine if you had told my parents in the autumn of 1994 that their son dependant on breathing through the aid of machine would be running back to back marathons in the spring of 2017 they would have thought you were clinically insane.”

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition which damages the patient’s lungs, digestive system and other vital organs - James’ lungs and pancreas are the worst affected.

James was hospitalised in September 1994, when he was just three months old.

“Fighting for every breath, I spent three months in intensive care on life support machines whilst doctors searched for solutions,” he says.

“The hospital became an over too familiar place for my family and as December loomed I spent my first Christmas in hospital. I struggle myself to know just how my parents coped in the first few months of my life.

“Breathing is a real struggle at times and digesting food is a nightmare,” he says.

“If you place a straw in your mouth and hold your nose that this presents similar conditions to my resting breathing (try it).

“My daily routine consists of 60+ tablets, two nebulisers, four inhalers and two physiotherapy treatments.

“I choose to do most of my treatments at home which means many of my closest friends and even family are often unaware of the medication I take just to keep myself on a level playing field.”

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