Marathon runner inspired by daughter

PUBLISHED: 15:26 04 April 2007 | UPDATED: 15:03 12 May 2010

David with Emma (left) and Rebecca

David with Emma (left) and Rebecca

A FATHER has been inspired to take part in the London Marathon by his two-year-old daughter, who suffers from a rare skin condition. David Watson will line up alongside the thousands of other competitors later this month, to raise much needed funds and a

A FATHER has been inspired to take part in the London Marathon by his two-year-old daughter, who suffers from a rare skin condition.

David Watson will line up alongside the thousands of other competitors later this month, to raise much needed funds and awareness for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

His daughter Rebecca was born with the rare condition in which the skin and internal body linings blister at the slightest knock or rub.

David, who is the farm manager at Wimpole explained: "Picking up or hugging Rebecca can leave her covered in blisters, as do most day-to-day things we take for granted. It's painful, and very distressing for her."

It is estimated that there are currently 5,000 people with EB in the UK, and the charity DebRA are committed to supporting both sufferers and their family.

Over the years David and his family have struck up a close relationship with those at DebRA, and as a result they have asked him to run for the charity.

David said: "It's an honour to run in aid of DebRA. For me it is a way of saying thank you for all the help and support they have given us so far. They are a small charity and need all the help they can get. But it is also a very efficient charity that does an awful lot of good.

"This is also an opportunity to help other families who are more badly affected by EB - luckily Rebecca has a mild form of the disease. There are a lot of families out there that need even more support."

Rebecca's condition may be mild, but she still has blisters over her skin, as well as having them in her digestive tract. She also has to wear her clothes inside out or have them specially made. In severe cases the condition can cause the loss of limbs and prove fatal.

Rebecca and his family have also played a significant part in his own personal motivation. This time last year, David weighed near 20 stone and in just seven months lost a staggering seven stone through running.

He said: "The doctor told me I needed to lose seven stone, or else. It was a bit of a killer punch. I wanted to get healthy not just for myself but for my family too."

Twelve months ago, David said he would have laughed at the idea of taking part in the London Marathon, but now can't wait for the off. After competing in the Eastern Run in Peterborough and various other half-marathons, he also feels he has caught the running bug.

He explained: "I'm going to continue to raise funds for charity and taking part in marathons is a good way. A lot of the charities cross over and I would also like to raise funds for skin cancer.

"I'm going to carry on for as long as I am able to help. The biggest challenge is not the running, but raising the awareness of EB and other charities. I want to help spread the world."

- David has set a fundraising target of £5,000. If you would like to support his marathon run visit www.justgiving.com/davidwatson. And for more information on DebRA visit www.debra.org.uk

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