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Around three million people in the UK have kidney disease

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The training must go on!

22 April 2020

A Virgin Money London Marathon runner, who is taking part for Kidney Research UK in memory of her inspirational dad, is back in training after the iconic event was postponed to the autumn.

Abbie Bird is among 40,000 runners who have re-arranged plans and training schedules, after the run did not go ahead in April for the first time in its 39-year history, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now set for October 4, Abbie has her training shoes back on to prepare for the day, which attracts crowds of thousands along the route.

“Being on the Facebook marathon support group, I can see that I feel like many other runners," Abbie said. “At first, we felt flat, but now we can see that by being postponed, we have more time to train. I only started running in May 2019 and I was at week 12 of my training plan; now, it's a case of re-assessing before I start my training plan again."

Abbie BIrd
Abbie Bird and her dad

Growing up with dad on dialysis

Abbie’s dad, Ray, was a detective constable in the West Midlands Police. He was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease when he was 50 and Abbie was just a toddler. Abbie, 29, said: “Having grown up with him on dialysis, it was all I had known. Dad had to take early retirement because of his health but he never complained, so we just accepted this as part of our family life.”

Eventually Ray had a kidney transplant which lasted him over 20 years. “The transplant massively helped him and gave some of his freedom back,” Abbie said. "Unfortunately, he had other health conditions, including heart problems. When he went into renal failure again, we were told another transplant was out of the question. We were gutted; as a family, we wanted to donate and mum was actually a match.”

My dad is my hero

Sadly, Ray died five years ago. Abbie said: “My dad is my hero. He's always at the forefront of my mind when I run. If the training gets tough, I think I can’t complain because it is nothing in comparison to what he and all the other kidney heroes go through. It is all the motivation I need to keep going. I hear so many inspirational stories of people battling so much and it drives me to raise as much money and awareness, and to know I can do this."

Already, Abbie has totalled almost £2,500 and intends to keep the fundraising going until the event later this year. “I want to say thank you to everyone who is supporting my journey - it means the world and will certainly get me through when the marathon comes around. And thank you to everybody at Kidney Research UK - you are all amazing and I cannot wait to run with the rest of Team Kidney in October!"

Follow Abbie’s fundraising link here: www.virginmoneygiving.com/AbbiesLondonMarathon.

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