Why I'm running for Cardiomyopathy UK

Mike Jennings daughter was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy when she was just 16 months old. Here he explains why he's running for Cardiomyopathy UK

Why Cardiomyopathy UK? 

My daughter Emma - now 13 – was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) when she was 16 months old.  My wife and I went through a horrible two week period when she barely ate or drank and trips to the GP could find nothing wrong.

Eventually one Friday evening in the summer of 2003, she looked so pale that my wife took her to A&E at our local hospital.  By the following morning she was in Paediatric Intensive Care at the Royal Brompton Hospital with poor heart and kidney function.

For the next few weeks, taking turns to be with her in hospital, the distinct possibility that a heart transplant may be necessary dawned on us.  Although she was close to going onto the transplantation list, thankfully and with the help of medication and great professional care, she avoided this and her heart function began to improve.  She is now happy and lives an active life, albeit still with the on-going need for daily medicine.

The support provided to us, and others in our situation, by Cardiomyopathy UK made it an obvious choice for me to raise funds for through charitable events such as the British 10k

How I got the team together?

In a competitive work environment to encourage and challenge others to do the British 10k with me was straight forward and fun, as well as providing the serious benefit of raising funds for Cardiomyopathy UK.  I got together a few of my team to challenge a similar sized group from another team within my organisation.  The added benefit from getting a work group together is that many organisations have a charity pot which look for candidates to donate to.  In my firm they kindly matched our personal donations.

How Cardiomyopathy UK support us

I did not expect any support – other than a T-shirt  from cardiomyopathy UK.  Leanne and team were out in force however with many more runners and multiple supporters to shout us on, creating a fun atmosphere

Why I enjoyed the run

To me a 10k race is long enough to require commitment and training, yet short enough to be achievable!  As well as forcing me to train, the work team that I put together added a competitive edge so I was keen to do a respectable time.  The British 10k is a fantastic party atmosphere – the circuit is a lovely touristy route, with thousands of participants of all ages and abilities, and, of course, a great opportunity to raise money to help Cardiomyopathy sufferers.

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