“The children are our future, so we need to help.”
In April, Jaymee ran the London Marathon as a part of Team Sparks and inspired by her daughter Inaya and her brother Rahul.
Growing up, Jaymee spent a lot of time in Great Ormond Street Hospital, where her brother was a patient. At age 16, Rahul was diagnosed with epilepsy, a condition that now, aged 31, he is still living with.
Sparks funds research into investigating the causes of different types of epilepsy and better ways to treat them, in the hope of providing answers and help to those who need it, just like Jaymee’s brother, Rahul.
“When I was quite young visiting my brother, GOSH just seemed a nice place to be with lots to do. Then it completely changed my perspective when it was my daughter.”
Inaya was born at 37 weeks, weighing just five pounds. Very soon after she was born, doctors realised something was wrong – her thyroid was not working. The thyroid is a gland that releases hormones that control many vital functions in our body, including how we use energy. Two days later Jaymee received a call from GOSH asking her and four-week-old Inaya to come in. Already familiar with GOSH from her childhood, Jaymee knew something must be wrong.
Jaymee recalls arriving at GOSH, “we went in on the Saturday and they did the blood tests and realised her thyroid hormone levels weren’t good.” They started Inaya on treatment straight away. Jaymee and Inaya were back in GOSH two days later and their visits occurred every month for the first two years of Inaya’s life. Inaya was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which is where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.
Inaya’s health fluctuated, she became very unwell, then at two years old Inaya’s thyroid kick started.
Although Inaya’s condition has improved greatly, she has still had some problems, “she gets sick quite easily and when she gets sick, she gets sick quite badly” but her monthly hospital visits are over. Inaya is now seven years old.
“I wanted to do something worthwhile for my fortieth”
Jaymee ran the London Marathon for Sparks, for Inaya and her sister Reyhana, for her brother Rahul, and for her 40th birthday.
“I wanted to do something for the girls to be proud of, for them to say, ‘my mum ran the London Marathon when she was 40’.
“I think if I’d done the ballot, I wouldn’t have been as motivated. When you’re running on your own and its cold outside, if you’ve something to focus on – like I was focusing on my little girl and my brother – it keeps you going.
“I think it was more for me as well as for other people, to prove that I can do it. My family are in awe and even my friends said ‘this is so not you, you’re so out of your comfort zone’. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything you want.
Jaymee soon realised the commitment and motivation it takes: “It impacts your life in a dramatic way, you really dedicate 6 months of your life to training. My husband was coming home earlier so that he could help the girls so that I could go out running. Even when it was freezing cold, bitterly cold, you know that you’re training for something, so you have to go.
“When you see the donations coming in as well, it really helps, it boosts you up.
Jaymee celebrated her 40th birthday just before the London Marathon, asking her friends to sponsor her in the marathon as her gift, to donate to Sparks.
“People can be really generous, even people I don’t know. The school put it in their newsletter and my fabulous friend made me a marathon cake - and she put Sparks on it!”
“It was like one big street party!”
At mile eight of the marathon, Jaymee fell over quite badly, “I found that really hard. Then I got halfway, I’d done the half marathon and I had a bit of a wobble thinking I’ve got to do this all over again.”
Having her family and friends there supporting really helped Jaymee get through the race, “I was telling myself, get to 17 miles and you’ll get to see your husband, get through the pain and you’ll get to see the girls. I got to 17 and I saw them.”
Jaymee’s friends were waiting for her at mile 18 and her brother was at 23 – seeing her friends and family really spurred her on.
Passing another runner who had lost her group, she decided to run with her until they found them, “that’s what’s really nice about the marathon, a lot of people do speak to each other, motivate each other to keep going. It’s such a fantastic atmosphere, it really is, it really unites people.
“The crowd really spurs you on – I had my name on my shirt so everyone was calling ‘come on Jaymee, let’s go Jaymee’, it was like one big street party! It’s so lovely that everyone comes together.”
Crossing the finish line was the best part of Jaymee’s experience, “I was so proud, so proud – it was just something I never would have thought I would be able to do.
“I was so exhausted, I was so pleased, I just wanted to go and see my husband and see the girls. They were over the moon, they had a big banner, it was lovely.”
“Looking back now at all of that training, I’m really happy that I’ve done it. It’s such an accomplishment and I’m going to be wearing my medal for ages now.”
Running for Sparks
As a part of Team Sparks, the runners are invited to a meet and greet, along with those running for GOSH Charity – Spark’s partner charity, this means they can meet their other team members. “I met an amazing lady called Samantha who was running for GOSH, she had run the marathon before, so she was giving me pointers and has been my absolute saviour in training and in support – she was just brilliant.”
Participating in events for Sparks is hugely important, not just because of the donations, “It’s really important for the charity because it raises awareness – it’s not just that a person is taking on the challenge, it’s also that they’re telling everyone about the charity, why the charity means so much to them, why they’re participating. Everyone I know knows about Sparks now.
“It’s important for people to continue supporting Sparks because it continues to raise awareness. Sparks needs the funds for the medical research to help find cures for seriously ill children, it’s so important. Why have the pain and suffering when we might be able to find cures? The children are our future, so we need to help.”
For critically ill children like Inaya and Rahul, there’s no time to lose.
With your help, we can fund research into life-changing treatments that will help children in the UK with rare and complex conditions. Donate now.
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