The organ donor register saves lives,Â soÂ sign up! '“Â Verity Lush
Last Sunday, I ran my first half-marathon. 13.1 miles of running will never beÂ easy, but thanks to Rural Running Events and Jeff Clark's Meon Valley ExpressÂ course, it was stunning.
I am always nervous about the pressure of organised races but six years ago myÂ husband had minor surgery at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham,Â with what was his first ever generalÂ anaesthetic.
Within 24 hours he was in A&E.
I awoke the next morning to a textÂ from him saying that his kidneys were failing by 98 per cent and nobody knew why. ItÂ was absolutely terrifying.
I had only ever heard of people with kidney failureÂ needing transplants, with no idea that you could recover.
And so started a three-week stint in QA. My husband was pumped full of steroids,Â had a kidney biopsy (painful and necessitating a long period of lying down,Â utterly still, afterwards), and then began having seizures.
Constant vomiting,Â brain MRIs, aspiration pneumonia and a huge dose all round of utter terror.Â
I arrived one morning to hear that he was having a CT scan of his brain becauseÂ he had suffered a seizure just before I arrived.Â
My husband had turned blue andÂ the crash team were called.
That night I was called back to QA only 30 minutesÂ after leaving because he had suffered another.
I rushed back to find him beingÂ assessed for intensive care, and I held his hand whileÂ he told me he would dieÂ that night, and that I must look after our two tiny girls.
The fact that he recovered, fully, was due purely to the staff at QA.
Unless you'veÂ seen dialysis, spent time on the renal wards, or chatted with a man who'sÂ recovering from giving his wife a kidney, you can't imagine it.
I entered a halfÂ marathon with the intention of raising cash for the ward but suffered a stressÂ fracture that took me out of running for a few years.
Subsequently this was unfinished business.
I didn't do it for the cash, but forÂ anyone out there who isn't on the donor register, to please join it.
Feel good all-round with 70kmÂ in 70 days for the NHS
As most of us must have realised given the rightful publicity, the NHS is 70 yearsÂ old this year.Â
Given the context of my column this week, it seems only right toÂ give a nod to both running and the NHS in one fell swoop.
Rural Running Events have a 70 in 70 challenge that you can enter.
Simply runÂ 70 km in 70 days, from September 1 (you can back-date this), and you will getÂ not only a t-shirt to say that you have done it, but also a very cool glass medalÂ and that satisfying little glow that comes from donating to charity due to aÂ percentage of profits going to local NHS charities.
It's win-win, and you can say you've been there and got the T-shirt after.
A well-organised run in our beautiful autumnÂ countryside
If you want to enter a half marathon, there can be few courses locallyÂ asÂ beautiful as this.
The trail that runs from Wickham to Exton is stunning, with autumn leavesÂ tumbling down on the runners as we made our way past fields and streams, theÂ foliage beginning to hang with berries and fruit.
Rural Running Events did not disappoint. It was smoothly organised,Â with great marshals, well-placed water stations, and friendly andÂ encouraging runners.
In October there is also a torchlight race on the same trail which takes on aÂ fantasticÂ atmosphere after dark.
Rural Running Events can be found on FacebookÂ if you fancy entering.Â Good luck!