Against the odds

Just a quick post to update you all on last weeks training and to post a little good news story for when it all seems too much 🙂 I’ve had such a terribly busy week at work, plus have the lurgy, and so training has hit a bit of a brick wall this week, it’s stories like the one I’ll share that keeps me going! All hail annual leave this time tomorrow!!

Week 2 Round Up

11.93 miles cantered

2016 miles = 28.67m

Donations received £35.00

2016 total raised = £200.00


Tuesday’s hill run saw me shave over a minute off my minute/mile compared to week one!


My Fartlek run was actually rather bouncy and fast for me!

Can’t quite believe I did my long run in less than 12min/mile!

Sometimes training can feel incredibly tough when you are holding down a full time (not to mention stress inducing) job, caring for two wonderful children, and trying to keep a household together. Throw getting ill into the mix and the whole thing just comes crashing down. Last night I was wondering how the hell I will claw it all back again, but it got me to thinking about a time, when against all of the odds, Graham did claw it back.

He was 16 years old at the time and it was a Saturday just approaching Christmas. My mum, stepdad and Graham were all getting ready to come and visit us from Portsmouth for a pre-Christmas dinner, and we were all looking forward to it. Graham was particularly looking forward to my potatoes “cooked around the chicken”. However he had developed a bit of a cough and my mum just wanted to get him seen by the on call GP before coming, as we had all had it drilled into us that a cough can develop very quickly into a full blown chest infection and pnuemonia in boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

To cut a long story short it was a damn good job that Graham went to the doctor, as by the time he had got there he had deteriorated massively. The next thing I knew, while preparing the spuds for dinner, my mum is calling me to let me know they wouldn’t be coming after all and the Graham needed hospital treatment for a chest infection. I instantly told mum I would be there as soon as possible, and I was.

When I got there Graham hadn’t quite been admitted, so he was in a holding bay for want of a better description. When I say he looked unwell, I truly mean just that, in fact he looked dreadful. I don’t quite recall him being transferred to the paediatric ward but I do remember getting on the train home to Surbiton, and telling Matt all about it. I honestly thought he would be treated and would bounce back, as up until this point he had never needed hospital  treatment for a chest infection and had been in quite spiffin shape.

I had been home for no longer than half an hour and my mum called. She was clearly upset and I distinctly recall her saying “You need to come home……”

Naturally, I went hysterical. Those words could only mean one thing. I jumped straight back onto the train, feeling numb and confused. How could this happen so quickly and with such little warning?!

When I got back to the hospital there were some pretty serious conversations to be had. He was about as sick as they come, BUT, if he got any worse did we want (unlikely to be beneficial) intensive care input? Did we want to place a DNR instruction on his notes? So many difficult questions that no family , let alone my mother should ever have to answer…..

Graham spent the next few days, fighting with all he had, despite being told that the odds were against him. We watched on as he endured the most intense of chest physio, being covered in bruises from the sheer force used to try and clear the infection. We watched his first NG tube be sited, multiple IV lines, observations slipping into dangerous levels, and the looks on the visitors faces when they saw him.

But against the odds he did it, and god only knows how. He fought with every inch of his being and survived, giving us another wonderful 3 years with him.

Naturally he missed a shed load of school work, but here comes the most extraordinary thing. Not only did he survive, he went on to sit and achieve his GCSE Maths, the first pupil from his school to ever do that. He won an Oscar from the City Council and the won city’s heart on awards night. My brother the history maker!


Curriculum achievement winner Graham Culpin made a bit of history at Mary Rose School in Milton when he became the first person from the special school to sit a GCSE exam.

The 16-year-old has a genetic muscle wastage disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Graham can only move his head and fingers and has been confined to a wheelchair since he was seven years old.

But despite his physical limitations, Graham was determined to attend maths classes at nearby Miltoncross School three days a week so he could take his GCSE this summer.

And the bright lad is predicted to get a C grade, even though he had to miss lessons around Christmas because he caught pneumonia in both lungs.

Graham says: ‘I just wanted to prove that just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t do well in school.’

His dad, Bryan Rees-Jones, 55, of Springwood Avenue, Waterlooville, adds: ‘He did a lot of homework and mock exams. He was asking for work because he wanted to do well. We’re so proud of him.’

His mum, Michelle Rees-Jones, 51, says: ‘He’s put in so much effort. He’s such an amazing boy. There’s no words to fully express how proud we are of him.’

Read more:


My fundraising page


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