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Fundraising Stories

Purdy takes on the Great North Run for FMA UK

image of Purdy

“Hi, my name is Purdy and I live with fibromyalgia and have done so for over 10 years. I work full-time as PCSO for North Wales Police.

I had never ever thought of doing a half marathon until an officer from another force, who set up our emergency services fibromyalgia support group, sent out an email to say there were charity spaces available for the Great North Run, to raise funds for Fibromyalgia Action UK. It was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment thing, and I emailed back to say I’d give it a go. Then the reality of what I had just done hit me! I really needed to do more than the park run a couple of times a month. So I started training, I had a few setbacks, flare-ups and days in bed with pain and fatigue, but I’ve kept going.

At the end of May, I got a tick bite, I didn’t notice it for about a week and then had 3 weeks of antibiotics for Lyme disease, which left me feeling rough. I was not giving up and the training continued but reduced. Then on 1st July I fractured my feet but didn’t know for the first 3 weeks, so I was still running, but not much as it was a little sore. I then found out it was a fractured metatarsal, not good. I was advised not to run for 3 weeks and so you see my training program (written on the blackboard in the kitchen) was completely out the window, I am now back to training with only a week to go as I am determined to complete this run, it may be slow and May be painful but I aim to reach the finish line on the same day I set off for the start line.

My main aim is to raise awareness of fibromyalgia and if there is one thing that helps with pain and fatigue for me, it is it’s to keep moving. I love to challenge myself, so why wouldn’t I at least try the Great North Run? I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”

You can support Purdy's GNR2023 campaign by donating to her fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Purdy's story and would like to fundraise for FMA UK, please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Kirsty Takes on the Great North Run 2023 for FMA UK

click here to donate to Kirsty's fundraising campaign.

“It has been nearly two years since I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (FMS), despite seeking a diagnosis for at least five years.

My health had slowly been declining since 2016, and I had been experiencing more and more pain, lethargy and brain fog which had increased my existing anxiety and depression. Every visit to the GP and numerous tests came up with nothing, and I felt as if maybe I was imagining it all.

This eventually led to a mental breakdown, whereby I was unable to leave the house and take part in the activities I once loved. I felt alone, isolated and hopeless. Once an active, outgoing person, I had turned into a shell of my former self. I thought my life, as I once knew it, was over. It had affected my relationships with my husband, friends and family. I never knew from one day to the next how I would feel, and plans were often ruined. Eventually, it was just easier to stay home, sit on my settee and watch television. I was in constant pain and could spend several days in bed, never feeling like I had had any sleep.

Though I am managing this much better currently, my symptoms now vary, and I still have days where I am totally exhausted, can’t get out of bed and experience immense pain. More recently, I have been experiencing grip issues and have started to be a bit clumsy and forgetful. However, I am a member of a local FMS support group, so now know this is nothing to be ashamed of, and I am not on my own in experiencing these symptoms.

FMS was not entirely new to me as my mum had been diagnosed after a three-year battle nearly 20 years ago. Back then, we had no clue what the condition was, its symptoms, how to treat it and what support or assistance could be accessed. We quickly found out there was very little information and support out there. It was difficult to find anyone else locally with FMS, and my mum also broke down, believing she could no longer do anything anymore. The change in her was heartbreaking for me and my family.

At the time, I was a fitness instructor and was able to research safe and effective ways to get her active again. This was the starting point, and from there, her confidence grew, and she has never looked back. Yes, she often struggles but she provides me with an amazing role model and example of how to live well with FMS. It isn’t always easy, some days are hard, but it can be done.

Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMA UK) is so important. Not only does it raise vital funds, but it provides information about the condition and allows people to access reliable information with suggested treatments and advice. The charity is so important in raising the awareness and profile of FMS so it can be better understood by everyone, not only us who have it. This understanding can aid in better support, empathy, diagnosis and treatment, which will make such a dramatic difference to those with FMS. FMA UK’s presence makes us feel seen, listened to and more importantly, believed. We feel less alone and know there are charities and people out there, who understand what we are going through on those bad days when flare-ups happen, and we feel exhausted and low.

When I saw that FMA UK had charity places for the Great North Run, I knew I had to put my name forward. Before my diagnosis, I had been a keen runner, regularly completing half marathons and even the TCS New York Marathon in 2019. At the end of last year, I had the confidence to sign up for a local couch to 5k course with Notts Women’s Runners after thinking I’d never be able to run again. It was hard, there were tears, and I had to come to terms with the fact I’d never be the runner I once was.

I am pleased to say that I graduated (with my mum) in December 2022, and we did regular 5k’s with our club, The Mansfield Maidens. I had no plans to run any further than this and never thought I’d run a half marathon again. When I found out I had gotten a charity place with FMA UK for the GNR 2023, I cried with joy. I had never run for a charity or participated in the GNR, but I feel it is my opportunity to raise money for a fantastic charity, give back to the FMS community and raise awareness of what it is like with FMS, how we can be supported, and to aid further understanding of the condition. Most importantly, I want to show that your life is not over, and you can do still things and live your life. I am not the same, but I am learning to live with FMS and adapt my life slightly differently.

The fundraising is going well, having exceeded my original target, I hope to raise even more money before I cross the finish line. The training is hard, but I am slowly progressing, keep on going and am determined to fly the flag high for FMA UK in what is the biggest and best half marathon in the world. Wish me luck. I promise that I will not let us down.”

If you have been inspired by Kirsty's story and would like to fundraise for FMA UK, please get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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