Healthspan News

Fundraising through Triathlons for Cystic Fibrosis

Posted 11 September 2012 12:00 AM by Healthspan Heroes
Andy Healthspan Hero

Andy, 56, from Buckinghamshire, has been a Healthspan customer for 5 years. He started taking glucosamine after a recommendation for joint care and subsequently started taking other supplements such as omega 3 and rose hip.

His application asked us to contribute to the costs of an ongoing programme of triathlon events. These events serve a dual purpose; not only is Andy raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust but he is competing in the triathlons alongside his son, Alex, who suffers from cystic fibrosis. We spoke to Andy about the story behind his sporting challenges.

"Cystic fibrosis limits energy levels, lung function and general wellness where chest infections occur more often." explains Andy "Alex is reasonably well at this time but keeping him healthy relies on regular physiotherapy to clear mucus from his chest."

Both of Andy’s children - Kate, 25, and Alex, 23 - have the condition, so using these events to raise awareness and money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust is a natural step for his family. "Critical to my children’s wellbeing are the supporting medicines combined with daily physiotherapy. Enthused by my own participation in sport, Alex and I take on triathlon events which demand cross-training in swimming, cycling and running."

All this activity started with a Saturday morning 5km ParkRun a couple of years ago. "I puffed my way around the woodland course in an attempt to maintain some level of fitness, with the chant of ‘one more step’ embedded in my mind," says Andy. "As I improved my fitness I was inspired to take on bigger challenges and long distance endurance events with a new found lease of life." The aim now is to continue the triathlons and build towards something bigger such as the London Marathon.

We asked Andy for an insight into what taking part in a triathlon is like. "We use thin wet suits for open water swimming and after exiting the water the wetsuits are peeled off and it is on with the cycling gear for the ride. After finishing the cycle stage there is a very quick change of shoes allowing us to run to complete the course. Typically the events consist of a 400m swim, 25k bike ride and a 5k run taking 15, 60 and 30 minutes respectively, subject to the complexity of the course and amount of hills. The hardest stage of the event is the swim as the mass start means you need to find your way amongst a large group of competitors, which can be likened to swimming in a washing machine. Finding your bike in the mass racks is also a mental challenge!"

Healthspan has been delighted to help Andy and his son access a number of events in 2012- and we wish them both every success with future races and fundraising and hope that both contribute to their on-going good health,- they have established a Cystic Fibrosis fundraising page for future events at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/andymaton

Their chosen charity, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, is trying to advance the trials for gene therapy and the Mannitol drug program which it is hoped will extend the lives of CF sufferers.

Triathlon events take place up and down the country all year round and for all abilities and age groups. If you would like to find an event near you, you can check the event calendar on the British Triathlon Website: http://www.britishtriathlon.org/take-part/events/find-an-event

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