40 Not Out

Making it to 40 as a life-long cystic fibrosis (CF)* sufferer was a hugely significant milestone and one I didn’t take lightly.

It came with a mix of emotions – joy, relief and happiness, but also some guilt for those not as fortunate as me in being able to defy the effects of this condition.

Even though my 40th landed on St. Patrick’s Day, the actual evening of my 40th comprised of going for a jog, not because I had no one to party with (that came later); it just seemed the right thing to do. Keeping my mind, body and spirit on the front foot for my ongoing journey.

There was a stark contrast however to how my own mum, Margaret Wotton, spent her own 40th Birthday when I was still a young boy. Her big day coincided with my parents’ first appointment with Doctor Knight, who left them in no doubt that my health was not all it should be… but that he could help. (And he did, and still does help).

I have since thought that that must have been such a deflating way to ‘celebrate’ her 40th and I am very lucky that I could reach the same milestone in such a normal and fun manner.

A few days after my 40th, I played for my London Edwardians field hockey team on a crisp sunny Spring morning and we had a hugely convincing and satisfying 3-1 win. No one was happier than me – to still be playing, competing and winning post 40. Also, this was the eight league game I’d played without losing since I almost retired back in November 2010, when I made the decision not to give up but to ‘get up and go again’. Definitely the right decision!

Since my Birthday in March, my CF story has been featured in two National UK newspapers, I have conducted two radio interviews and shared a Boston based news article with the CF son of a famous American football player (see the links below). I am also likely to be featured in the Mirror Weekend paper this Saturday 7 May.

But my story is having other knock-on effects. My dear friend, Julian Archer, was inspired enough by my Countdown blog, that he’s doing a sponsored CF cycle ride from France to England culminating in joining me for a hockey game in Southamptonon 21 May. Click here to view more information.

And yet…

This is all taking place against the usual relentless backdrop of my daily CF and Diabetes medical regime. I didn’t take a day off just because it was my 40th.

Like the majority of CF sufferers, I am often lacking in energy due to the extreme effort required to adhere to my punishing schedule. Some of my recent jogs have been like running through treacle.

During a very recent run, I coughed so hard that I produced some blood which is always worrying. My son, Felix, heard one of my recent early morning coughing sessions and said to my wife Katie: “Poor Daddy!”

The other morning after his fourth Birthday, I brought Felix downstairs for his breakfast and he pointed out that one of his balloons had withered. “My balloon is worn out!” he exclaimed.

On some days, that balloon is me.

There are times, when battling CF, I feel more like 400 years old rather than 40. But it makes the days that I feel upbeat, strong and energetic even sweeter and fulfilling.

This blog entry is dedicated to my dad, Douglas Wotton, as he recovers from a heart pace-maker insertion and a separate hip replacement operation. In our own ways, we are both striving to move forward and get on the front foot.

I will keep you posted on my life affirming moments, trials and tribulations as and when they happen. Please keep reading and sharing my blog and sign up if you have not already done so.

Yours cup half full


Tim Wotton

Recent Media Activity:

Daily Mail Article

The Express Article

Talk Radio Europe Interview

Patriot Ledger US Publication

* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 8,500 people. The condition affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with the condition, however, each week, three young lives are also lost to it. There is currently no cure for CF. However, existing gene therapy trials in the UK are bringing people with the illness closer to a form of cure but CF is not that well known and would benefit from more public donations.

For more information and to find out more view the CF Trust Website



About Tim Wotton

I live with my lovely wife (Katie) and spirited ten-year old son (Felix) in Morden, Surrey; working full-time as an internal communications specialist in the Oil & Gas sector. I have played sport, particularly hockey, tennis all my life and now regularly go to the gym. Cystic fibrosis has been a huge factor in my life, but not one that overshadows it. I have always had great support from my loving family - parents Margaret and Douglas (RIP), elder brother Chris and my twin brother Jez. I have many rich life insights based on knowing I have a reduced life expectancy and battling against the odds for over 44 years. My eyes and heart have been opened by my health struggle. I feel empowered to share my life lessons to help anyone with health and life issues to overcome. My passions include Paul Smith clothes, dress shirts (believing that it's enlightening to dress like it's your last day on earth), Alfa Romeo cars, spicey food, Harlequins and England rugby, Southampton FC, Wimbledon village and common, Dorset, seascapes, sunsets and military history. I am available for public speaking on this subject matter and can be contacted via timwottonAThotmailDOTcom. I have written a book 'How have I cheated death?' based on my euphoric countdown year to 40 which was published in 2014 and won the 2015 'Best Achievement' Award at the UK People's Book Prize. It is available via e-book, audiobook and paperback at Amazon and to order from UK bookstores. Go to the relevant sites below or in the UK go to a WH SMITH, Waterstones or Foyles bookstore and give them my name, book title and this ISBN number (9781849637190). It’s also available via GARDNER’S, BERTRAM’S, AUSTINMACAULEY.COM, BLACKWELL’S, PLAY.COM, AMAZON.CO.UK AND AMAZON.COM
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8 Responses to 40 Not Out

  1. Hilary says:

    You are an inspiration. Many congratulations on your 40th Birthday.

  2. Patricia Ross says:

    Congratulations on your 40th birthday. Keep up the great effort. I am a 64 year old with mild CF which was diagnosed about 5 years ago. Like you I try to keep as fit as possible which I am told has helped me a lot. Very best wishes for the future to you and your family.

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Dear Patricia,
      Thanks for taking time out to send those kind wishes and I hope you are feeling as well as possible 5 years into your diagnosis! I bet that was a conversation that included the words “Cystic what?”
      Yes, like you, I’m a firm believer that exercise is incredibly important with this condition.

      All the best

  3. donny valdivieso says:

    congratulations tim. i also just turned 40 on april 6. we both are in similar situations, i also feel very weak and tire at times. but the battle goes on. stay in touch tim.
    donny v.

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Hey Donny V,
      You’ve got the step on me in getting to this major milestone – big congrats back at you! Yes, the battle does go on – let’s hope it’s our 100 years war!!

  4. Olivia says:

    You’re in demand! It’s always exciting when CFers reach the public eye.

    Did you see this article? CF patient from Birmingham who is now a model!

    Which reminds me, the other day I saw two CF sisters who sang on “America’s Got Talent”. They were amazing and touching. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31749_162-20008697-10391698.html

  5. Chris says:

    Good on you bro.

    keep going….
    keep defying the odds…
    but mainly…keep being you!

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