Inspirational Jessica: ‘I have now had to accept I will be walking parts of the marathon and my goal is just to finish it’
- Credit: Archant
Jessica Heslop, a local mum of two, will be hitting the ground running on Sunday April 22, when she competes in the Virgin London Marathon for Asthma UK.
Jessica, who is from Chatteris, has taken on the ultimate challenge that many aspire to but few get round to attempting.
She has suffered from chronic asthma since she was a young child and has been a regular at Hinchingbrooke Hospital because of her condition.
“Asthma is extremely common but it is not always taken as seriously as it should,” she said.
When Jessica decided to go travelling around the world before starting university her doctor would only sign her fit to fly if she carried a nebulizer machine in her back pack.
“I have relied on steroids, inhalers and nebulizers just to get through the day being able to breathe,” she said. “This limited the sport I engaged in throughout school and my early 20s.”
She was always told to be careful as exercise was a trigger. Over the last few years her asthma has become much more under control and she was able to take up running.
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“I have never been a natural runner,” she said. “I have struggled to progress in my running even with lots of training and help from coaches at my local running club.
“A lot of this is down to me struggling with my breathing while running and then as soon as I get a cough I’m out of running for a good few weeks as it then triggers my asthma. When I started running it was a very emotional journey for me as I was always told at school not to do exercise which triggers my asthma as I go down hill so quick.”
She said the encouragement of a running club she joined made her even more determined to be able to run and not to allow asthma to rule her life “after it had taken so much of my teenage years.
“Last year I decided to register for the ultimate challenge of running the London Marathon. The last nine months haven’t been easy, I’ve found it incredibly hard to fit training runs in with having a four and five years old and while working at a SEN school it doesn’t leave me much spare time”.
After completing the Cambridge half marathon last month for Asthma UK she became ill with a chest infection which landed her back on steroids and inhaler machines.
“This has meant that I have now had to accept I will be walking parts of the marathon and my goal is just to finish it,” she said.
Jessica added: “As I gained a charity place I need to raise a minimum amount of money. I am still £900 off of this. Asthma UK is the leading asthma charity which offers health advice and support through its telephone help line for the 5.4 million people living with asthma in the UK.”
Louise Thomas, Head of Events and Community Fundraising for Asthma UK said:
“Asthma affects 5.4 million people in the UK and can leave people gasping for breath. In some cases it can be fatal and it claims the lives of three people every day. That’s why our work at Asthma UK is vital to fund research into a cure for the condition and offer our health advice to help people with asthma stay well.”
Louise added: “We hope that the rest of Jessica’s training goes well, and wish her the best of luck on the big day”
“Having an asthma attack is incredibly frightening and one occurs every 10 seconds in the UK. An attack happens when the airways start to tighten, which can leave people coughing, wheezing and gasping for breath. Some people describe having an asthma attack as feeling like a pillow is being held over their face.”
You can support Jessica through her fund raising page - uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JessicaHeslop