Great Strides

Guts and determination aren’t only needed by those battling the chronic illness cystic fibrosis (CF)*, they’re also required by our incredible fund raisers. My wife is one of them…

Last Sunday, my wife Katie took part in the London Parks Half Marathon as part of over 40 runners raising money for CF, which included three CFers. Unfortunately, she had injured her knee back in July and more recently badly damaged her groin during a 10 mile run in Southend-on-Sea. Much to her annoyance, Katie could hardly lift her leg let alone jog. Would she have to pull out? Could she bear running with such considerable pain?

Katie has a strong running style, especially when compared to me. If we were cars, she would be a Ferrari California and I would be the Alfa Romeo 1900 rust bucket that was recently discovered in a Boston garage in a state of disrepair. That Alfa, like me and my lungs, with a wash can look regal on the outside but is a mess under the bonnet!

When Katie is in full flow she is almost effortless – like a gazelle – and not really out of puff whereas any exercise I undertake these days with my 43 year old CF lungs is akin to flogging a dead horse.

In the end, Katie decided to go for it.

My seven year-old son Felix and I, decked out in CF t-shirts and holding balloons and the banner ‘CF: A fight we must win‘, were there to support Katie for as long as she could run. We reckoned that the section of the race on Westminster Bridge would be a good vantage point to congratulate her on her brave endeavors.

Using an app on my phone we could track her progress and judge where she was on the route and when she would appear at Westminster Bridge. Suddenly we could see her and she was looking out for us. I could spot the good luck card that Felix and I wrote for her which was securely placed in her running shorts. It was an emotional moment and after a long tearful hug between Katie and Felix we all huddled together as the racing throng passed by us.

Team Wotton taking on CF

Team Wotton taking on CF

I am deeply proud of Katie’s achievement. She knew that her groin injury would severely hamper her ability to run and yet she defied the pain to take part, not backing down from the challenge she had set herself. The deeply frustrating aspect is that she had built up good fitness prior to the injury so she knew that she could have run the required 13 miles in a competitive time.

As I’ve stated before in this blog and in my book ‘How have I cheated death?’, I’m thoroughly in awe of anyone undertaking fundraising activities. This is magnified when it will help my illness; raising much-needed money to make a tangible difference to future treatments, care and a hopeful cure. All my family and a lot of our friends have played their part over the years in this pursuit which creates a tight bond. As someone who’s never had one day of ‘normal health’, it’s wonderful for me to witness relatively healthy bodies being put to such good use.

However, I do admire and envy the marathon runners in equal measure. It’s galling to watch people seamlessly run such distances, some I suspect with little preparation; when on some days, getting up a flight of stairs can seem formidable for me and others like me.

Standing on that bridge was a seminal moment – a family of three coming together to defy CF. Katie through her running to raise money for valuable cure-bringing funds, me with my daily medical diligence and sharing my survival story and Felix helping to de-mystify the condition for all of us with his sunny disposition and contagious happiness.

In a supposedly ‘fun’ race where there are no real winners and losers, it’s the taking part that counts. Katie took part and her brave efforts and associated money raised most definitely counted. Although every step last Sunday was painful, she made great strides for CF.

In other news: I want to congratulate my wonderful twin brother Jez on his recent marriage to the lovely Julie – I wish you all the health and happiness in the world!

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 (on the right hand side tab) if you have not already done so.

Yours cup half full.

Tim Wotton (CF author)

Your help please:

You can still donate for Katie here.

Please watch and share my book ‘How have I cheated death?’ promotional You Tube video.

My CF memoir has been nominated for the UK People’s Book Prize! Please help me to win by voting for me via this link.

* Cystic Fibrosis is one of the UK’s most common life threatening inherited diseases, affecting over 10,000 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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12 Responses to Great Strides

  1. Patti Rose says:

    Please give your wife a message for me.

    Thank you so much for running the marathon in spite of your injuries.
    And thank you even more for loving and supporting your husband through this.
    You give me hope that my son will one day be lucky enough to have a family and a future in spite of his CF diagnosis. He is 19 now, and I know he will one day be an excellent husband and father if he finds someone amazing to love.
    You are amazing!
    Your family is an inspiration to me.
    I wish all of you long life and much happiness!!

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Thank you very much Patti for taking time to reply with such kind words which I’ve relayed to Katie.
      Do pass on my regards to your son and wish him the best of health.

      Best wishes

  2. sue kruk says:

    Hi Tim,
    Again, a great blog. As Patti’s message above, please pass on to Katie love and congratulations. All 3 of you are inspirational. Ziggy, too was fortunate and happy with a special person.

  3. jez wotton says:

    Really good blog & a lovely picture of Tim, Katie & Felix. Thanks for the ‘shout out’ for Julie & i – you have alway’s been supportive of us both! J & J xxxx

  4. Fiona says:

    Hi Tim , my Husband is 35 and we have a similar life to you. I’m a doctor and we have a 3.5yr old girl (and another on the way- yes we are crazy). hubby has been so unwell over past 2 yrs with long stays in hospital but his resilience to this condition and our enthusiasm to live life as normal as possible keeps us all going. he does gym sessions and high intensity circuits and running parkruns – all with 50% lung functions – (it had gone to 25% last yr- but with exercise and rest from work there are back to baseline)- his consultant is in awe of him – as am i.
    WE do however ‘live in the moment’ most of the time. something i have learned to do. hubby works full time in Bank and even when sick sneeks into work!!!
    and when on iv’s in hospital his on his blackberry sorting out meetings etc. .
    its funny to read your life mirroring ours as i know you could easily stop working and chill out but know that this would worsen your condition as your work must keep you going and in ‘normal life’
    looking forward to reading your book.

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Hi Fiona, good to hear from you and for sharing your story. I hope my book resonates for both yourself and your husband – please pass on my regards.

      Best wishes

  5. Roger Seyburn says:

    Hi Tim……Unsure how to contact you.
    Have just been privileged to read your story on the BBC Site….Carpe Diem.
    My christmas gift to you and your family is twofold.
    A wonderful true story on youtube….”The Beautiful Truth” that may give you some further answers………Secondly have you considered the power of juicing only live foods.
    Whether you take up my humble offer…..I salute you
    Roger Seyburn

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Hi Roger, thanks for your kind note and suggestions. I’ll email you directly to let you know what I think of the you tube and to ask you more about juicing live foods.


  6. Karin says:

    Hi Tim, I am also struggling with a chronic condition with the prospect of it taking the precious time I have left. Thanks so much for your posts! You have reminded me to Carpe Diem!

    • Tim Wotton says:

      Dear Karin,
      Thanks for your honest message. As I don’t know what your chronic condition is, it would be hard for me to comment further but my book offers both physical and mental strategies for handling long-term health battles.
      Best wishes

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