Allergy UK fundraiser shares her story to raise vital awareness
On Sunday 22nd April 2018, mother-of-three, Hannah Sheikh ran the London Marathon for Allergy UK in memory of her nephew, Cameron Wahid. Cameron tragically passed away in October 2015 (aged seven) from anaphylaxis after eating pasta containing milk.
Hannah raised an incredible £3,674 so far for the national allergy charity, smashing her £3,000 target. She completed the 26.2 mile race in an impressive four hours and 40 minutes despite high temperatures on the day.
Although she had never ran a marathon before, Hannah decided to take on the challenge to raise awareness about how serious allergy can be by sharing her story. She didn’t want another family to go through the loss her loved ones have suffered. She said, “People would ask me what I was training for and why, and when I told them they were shocked about my nephew and so supportive. If I could even help save one life then this would all be worth it. Running a marathon was nothing in comparison to what some families, including my brother and sister-in-law, had to go through.”
Allergy can affect anyone at any age. The UK has some of the highest prevalence rates of allergic conditions in the world, with over 20% of the population affected by one or more allergic disorder¹. Allergy UK supports families and individuals who have been affected by allergy with its national Helpline as well as online resources.
Hannah was determined to keep Cameron’s memory alive by fundraising on behalf of those with allergy but she found training tough during the cold, wet, winter months. She remembers how she had to stay motivated during difficult training sessions: “I spent over five months training in rain, snow and freezing winds. Some days I was so exhausted but I kept going. I needed to do this.”
This year’s London Marathon saw unprecedented high temperatures for a mid-April day in the capital. Hannah said the conditions definitely took their toll on many of the already-exhausted runners: “People were collapsing around me, especially in the last few miles, but again, I just kept thinking of why I was doing this.” Her family and friends supported her all the way, with many there on the side lines, keeping her momentum up.
It was the final mile that brought it all home to Hannah in what was such a personal, inspirational and emotional journey. She said: “I started crying while I ran. It would not bring Cameron back, but I did it in his memory. He was the reason I kept running. He was the reason I raised money.”
Raising awareness about the reality of living with allergy was such an integral part of Hannah’s challenge: “People now understood that allergies were not just you getting a rash or a few spots. In some cases it can be fatal. This is what most people need to be aware of.”
For more information about allergy, and how you can get involved in events to help raise money for Allergy UK, visit www.allergyuk.org.
¹ M.L. Levy, 2004