Five East Lancashire friends take on London Marathon for deserving charity

Gary Hargreaves, Spencer Barker and Richard Sharples are among the friends to take on the challenge. (s)
Gary Hargreaves, Spencer Barker and Richard Sharples are among the friends to take on the challenge. (s)
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Five friends will pound the streets of the capital this weekend to support a Clitheroe woman who has a very rare lung disease.

Sarah Sharples (37) was diagnosed with Lymphangioleiomyomatosis in 2011, which progressively destroys lung tissue leading to breathing problems.

Since then her brother-in-law, heating engineer Richard Sharples (44), from Wilpshire, and friends have raised more than £10,000 for LAM Action - a charity that supports women with LAM and their families and funds research.

Richard will be running this year’s London Marathon on Sunday with project manager Gary Hargreaves (42) and Spencer Barker (44), both from Clayton-le-Dale; Simon Jordan (39), deputy principal of Burnley College Sixth Form Centre and college manager David Lord (40), from Burnley.

LAM occurs almost exclusively in women and effects around seven in every million. There are around 350 women in the UK with the disease.

“When Sarah was diagnosed none of us had ever heard of the disease,” said Richard, who has already run two London Marathons for charity.

“Now, thanks to the tireless work of LAM Action, there is a much greater awareness and understanding of the condition. The charity provides the chance for people to talk with others in similar circumstances and offers support and encouragement and information.

“Its purpose is to also raise money for clinical research into an effective cure or treatment as it is can be difficult to obtain money for research into a rare disease.”

Sarah’s condition continues to remain stable with the help of medication.

Speaking about the friends' marathon challenge, Sarah, a director at FS Accountants in Clitheroe, said: "Running 26 miles is no easy feat and I’m delighted that Richard and his friends have chosen to support a cause so close to my heart."

To support Richard and his friends visit: www.bit.ly/2OEZruz.