MS patients inspire Claire's charity run
THROUGH her job, Claire Lowndes comes face-to-face with sufferers of multiple sclerosis on a daily basis.
She knows all too well the devastating impact it can have on people's lives, but also the positive steps which can be taken to treat the condition thanks to ongoing research.
Working as a multiple sclerosis specialist nurse at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Claire describes the work done by the MS Trust during her 13 years in the job as 'excellent and invaluable'.
The MS Trust is an independent UK charity for people with multiple sclerosis, their families and friends, and for all health and social care professionals who work with them.
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They provide information, professional education and fund practical research to improve the lives of people with the condition.
Now as a way of a saying thank you to the charity, Claire will be running the Lake Vyrnwy half-marathon in Wales next month.
The 44-year-old has taken part in 10,000-metre races in the past but never a half-marathon.
Claire, who lives on Bromleyhedge Lane, in Winkhill, near Leek, said: "I wanted to raise some money for a good cause and with the job that I do, I know how fantastic the MS Trust is.
"I wanted to give something back for all the help they have given me in my job over the years.
"They support healthcare professionals with training programmes for those with the condition and provide a really good publication which offers advice to people who have been diagnosed.
"They also have advice lines which people can ring up for information and I know they are very helpful to patients.
"Everyone knows the negative images that a diagnosis can conjure up but while no one denies that multiple sclerosis can be devastating, positive steps can be taken to improve quality of life.
"Multiple sclerosis might be incurable but it is far from untreatable with many new therapies now available and more currently being researched."
Multiple sclerosis is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults, affecting 100,000 people in the UK.
Claire is busy training ahead of the race on Sunday, September 9 and is hoping to raise hundreds of pounds for the trust by taking part.
She said: "I've been doing a 12-week training programme in and around Manifold Valley and it's going well.
"I ran 12.5 miles on Sunday which is just under a half-marathon but I feel like I'm ready to go now.
"I've got about £300 in donations so far but I haven't set myself a target.
"I'm just hoping to raise as much money as possible."
Claire has enlisted the help of her nine-year-old daughter, Amelia, to collect money from spectators on the day.
Amelia, who goes to Hassell Primary School, in Newcastle, said: "Mum has been doing lots of training for the race.
"I want to help her collect the money."
To sponsor Claire, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/ClaireLowndes and donate online, or email email@example.com