Team Alexis Rose, put together by Alan Glynn and his wife Ruth following the death of their 19-month-old daughter Alexis Rose in February 2011, has achieved many amazing things over the last decade.
But to mark this anniversary its 38 members, across Scotland, England and as far afield as Australia, set themselves the challenge between them of covering over 40,000 miles – that’s an average of 1,083 per team member, the distance between the tip of Scotland and the toe of England. (At the latest count they were well on target, having completed 37,305 miles).
One of the English members of Team Alexis Rose is Kim Lo, who has her own special reasons for being part of the team and an amazing story in her own right.
Forty-one-year-old Kim, an accountant from West Sussex, is a keen runner. A very, very keen runner. Four years ago, for example, she completed a bucket list challenge of taking part in the iconic Comrades run in South Africa. You can read her account of that experience here.
An amazing achievement. But what makes it all the more so is that Kim is also a meningitis survivor. She contracted meningococcal septicaemia when she was 18 in 1997 and spent several weeks in intensive care and hospital.
“I was ultimately very lucky,” Kim said, “And thanks to the wonderful work of the doctors and nurses I only lost my toes and a finger and gained some good scars and a lust for life.”
Seventeen years later she summoned up the courage to tell her story.
“I had tried before, but then a film inspired me to put my story to paper, and not bottle it up. I hope it gives a little insight into the disease called meningitis, how it affected me personally and why I am running my race, Miles for Meningitis, this year.
Getting over myself
“In this film there is a scene where a boy with a prosthetic leg is embarrassed about what a girl might think on seeing it for the first time. She tells him to ‘get over himself’. This is my way of getting over myself.
“I don’t want this to be viewed as pretentious or self-pitying but if one person reads this and it saves their life because they seek treatment when they need it, or if it inspires someone to know that whatever life throws at you, you can always go one better, then it’s worth sharing.”
Kim certainly believes in believes in making the most of life with her fantastic son Eliot, who is 8, and her 14-year-old border terrier. You can read her amazing full story here.
Amazing fundraising challenges
Kim said: “I got involved with Alan’s new challenge Team Alexis Rose in memory of his daughter Alexis Rose as I have been involved in his amazing fundraising challenges before, including Miles for Meningitis a few years ago, because I think raising awareness about meningitis is critical and because I have personal experience of the disease.
“Aside from the current challenge I have participated in many personal and fundraising challenges from the Great Wall Marathon to my bucket list race The Comrades in South Africa.
“I have also reserved my place on the Inca Trail Marathon for next year which is very exciting and will be my biggest challenge yet.
“The best thing about being in Team Alexis Rose is the team support and effort and Alan’s enthusiasm and belief. My message to Alan is thank you for always keeping meningitis awareness an important issue and for his unwavering belief and support in the group.
“What a wonderful way to remember his beautiful daughter.”
Support for team members
In his turn Alan is full of praise and support for the Alexis Rose team members. “This team; these people are amazing,” he said. “They’re the ones who make it possible and who have achieved so much. Their energy, effort and dedication they bring to the fight against meningitis is just incredible and it’s an honour for me to be associated with them.
“Over the years there’s not been a challenge they haven’t smashed and I know this latest John O’Groats to Land’s End Challenge will be a big success for the team too.
“We are united by a common goal, working as a friendly force, a family, to raise awareness of meningitis and funds and we support each other to meet targets.”
Alan added: “These people have all had my back. You always need a team to achieve anything and you’re only as good as the people around you. Friends have given so much back through their energy and enthusiasm following our tragedy and enable Ruth and I to keep our daughter’s spirit alive.”