Suzanne Palmer, Reporter for Bath Chronicle talks to Senior Deputy Head, Mr Gareth Lloyd about running the London Marathon.
Why did you feel moved to help this particular cause?
I had known for a number of years from my mother-in-law, who is a district nurse (Mrs Vicky Taylor) about a young woman patient of hers, Sophie Cameron, who was suffering terribly from encephalitis lethargica(EL). Then, nearly three years ago, I came to Kingswood School as Senior Deputy Head, and met Sophie's younger sister, Lydia. When Sophie died last May, I decided then that I would like to run the London Marathon to raise money for the Sophie Cameron Trust.
What was the purpose of the assemblies you and Lydia have done? What did you hope to acheive?
We have delivered four assemblies to staff and pupils at Kingswood, to raise their awareness of this dreadful illness, and how it can so horrifically affect the lives of an entire family and beyond. We have asked everyone to support the charity by pledging at least £10 each, thus taking us towards our goal of £10,000 to help medical researchers address this horrendous illness.
Have you done anything else like this before and how much a challenge will it be for yourself?
I have run the London Marathon before to raise money for charities supporting research into illnesses suffered by former pupils of mine. In 1995, I ran for Children with Epilepsy, raising £6,000, as one of my pupils suffered from severe epilepsy. In 1997, I ran for Great Ormond Street, raising £5,000, after a pupil of mine had had to undergo years of leg surgery there. In 2001, I ran for the Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust, raising £4,500, to help one of my colleagues organise pilgrimage holidays to Lourdes for three disabled children. In 2004, I ran for Children with Leukaemia, raising £8,000, after one of my pupils died from the illness. The challenge for me personally is to raise as much money as possible for children who need a little happiness and medical assistance in their lives. It is hugely motivating to know that one can make a difference of this nature when going through the pain barrier one encounters during the 26.2 miles!
How have you prepared yourself for the marathon?
I love running, so to prepare for a marathon is, masochistically speaking, a pleasure. It costs us an arm and a leg to keep me fed, though! And I have to train at very peculiar times either very early in the morning or late at night, so I can spend time with my wonderful wife and three children, and still keep on top of my work.
What do you hope to achieve from the experience (both personally and for the Trust)?
My hope is that we can raise £10,000 for the SCT, to provide much needed funds for vital research; to raise our community's awareness of how a disease such as EL can so drastically affect the lives of so many, and of course, to enjoy the race!
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