Andrew Macnab received a diagnosis of dermatomyositis last year. His sister Helen Keith is preparing for her first marathon in order to help Andrew. The money Helen raises will go towards essential research into her brothers condition. Keep reading to learn more, and follow the original story here for additional details.
Dermatomyositis is a disease affecting roughly one in every million people. It is primarily identified by a characteristic skin rash and muscle weakness. Various treatment options exist for the management of dermatomyositis symptoms; however, no cure for the disease exists. Click here to learn more about dermatomyositis.
Before his diagnosis, Andrew previously completed a marathon in Scotland. Both of his brothers also completed marathons. Their sister Helen often considered competing as well. Now, she says, it’s her turn. She hopes to raise funds and support for Myositis UK and awareness for her brother’s condition.
Helen knows the race will be difficult for her. It is nothing, she says, to what Andrew goes through every day. Simple functions of life such as walking, sleeping, and eating have become increasingly difficult as Andrew continues to struggle with dermatomyositis.
“It seems so unfair,” Helen says, “that someone who has previously completed a marathon now struggles to walk 50 yards due to the muscle-wasting effects this illness has had.”
Helen began running to relieve stress. When her brother was first admitted to he hospital and receiving his diagnosis and treatments, Helen would run as an outlet. She says it is still an effective stress management tool in her life. She often thinks about her brother and the difficulties of his marathon during her runs. It also reminds her of how much he’d rather be out exercising than struggling with the symptoms of his condition.
Helen continues to describe her brother as an inspiration to the whole family. He’s always been very supportive. The amount of funding they’ve already received for the campaign, she says, is both overwhelming and a testament to Andrew’s popularity and the high opinions people have of him.
It is the fundraising, rather than any sense of personal struggle or accomplishment, that will push Helen to finish all 26.2 miles of her race later in the month. Anyone who would like to support Helen’s cause can find more information at her fundraising page here.