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London Marathon - Liz Kemsley's story


21 April 2016

Liz Kemsley and her 81-year-old mother ran the marathon for Epilepsy Society in 2016. Liz discusses why she decided to run the marathon for her son Luke, her struggles with training and her amazing fundraising efforts.

Liz Kemsley and her mum

"My 81-year-old mother announced to us in December 2015 that she would be doing the London Marathon for the Epilepsy Society. My son Luke was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 9 although we now know that he probably had seizures from the age of 4 or 5. Sadly no medication has worked for Luke and as he has got older his seizures have worsened. He has seizures every night going to sleep and every morning when he wakes up. He also can have about 40 smaller seizures in his sleep and because of the sleep deprivation it has made schooling and college extremely difficult.

I did some training with my mother but it was too late for me to get a place but I helped her fundraise and also raise awareness with television interviews and newspaper articles. She sadly tore her Achilles tendon whilst filming for the BBC so was unable to take part in 2015, so this gave me the opportunity to ask for a place myself in 2016, so that we could do it together and raise even more money and raise awareness about epilepsy.

It has not been easy getting out training as Luke had a 9 week spell in hospital just before Christmas and I needed to be with him and when he came out his seizures were so bad we were being woken 2 to 3 times a night and with the sleep deprivation and needing to be around for Luke, this also didn’t help. However, I have also started cycling and this has helped my fitness and I am really looking forward to the day.

I have worked hard at fundraising and my efforts have paid off as it looks like between us we will raise over £6,000 for the Epilepsy Society and this makes it all worthwhile. There is a team Facebook page and this has been great to share our experiences and fundraising ideas and I feel that I know the other people although we haven’t actually met yet!"

Jennifer Barker completed the 2016 London Marathon in 7 hours and 21 minutes, proving it is never too late to take on the marathon and finish it.

Up for the challenge? Register for the 2018 London Marathon