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Conor McCabe – My Story

I’m very happy to have been invited to run the 2024 London Marathon by my good friend Steve Watson.

Steve has a special charity that’s close to his heart and I’m running with Steve ( a lot slower than him of course) to raise money for the PSPA charity. If you have never heard of my pal Steve or the charity here is his story. Its so positive how Steves’ love for his mum and his desire to spend as much time as he could with his dying mum made him change his life and brought him a new career.

Fundraising for PSP Association a

Check out Steve Watson's story about PSP

Steve Watson

Steve Watson - My Story

If someone told me they were running six London Marathons, I’d go right ahead and assume it was for some kind of personal challenge or bucket list type of thing.

Sadly, for me, that isn’t what this is.

I ran the London Marathon three times before my Mum died. She’d suffered horribly and progressively (but bravely) with a condition called PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy) every day for six years by the time she passed away on Christmas Day, 2015.
I ran the London Marathon for a fourth time in April 2016 to commemorate my Mum – having hoped when I’d signed up that she’d still be here – but ultimately, I ended up running it as an outlet for my grief.

In the worst nutshell I can think of to put this in for you, PSP is a degenerative condition that slowly but steadily takes away a person’s ability to walk, talk, see, swallow, balance, or do any of the ‘every day’ things independently that we all take for granted. You can’t care for yourself, you can’t make yourself comfortable, and you can’t even do anything to entertain yourself or engage with those around you.

And the part even worse than knowing that this disease will take more and more from you every day for years until it kills you, is knowing that for the whole thing, you’ll be completely mentally aware of everything that’s happening.

The reason I’d signed up to run those London Marathon events was to raise money for the PSP Association – a small but hands-on charity that supported my Mum and our family from the start. Raising money for them not only allows them to keep offering practical and emotional support, but also allows them to fund research into a disease that is so rare and so cruel that there is no specific treatment or cure.

The effect of the disease since Mum’s diagnosis in 2009 was always a strange one for me. It was rapid in the sense that every single day did in fact show us that something had gotten progressively worse, but at the same time, everything was so drawn-out that it must have felt like a prison sentence for my Mum. I imagine that the majority of this sentence also felt like it was spent in isolation.

I’d always been a keen runner, and so I thought that if I could attempt something like the London Marathon, I knew I had a shot of using the event to raise some funds and awareness to show sufferers and their families that they weren’t alone. That word is the only one I can think of when I consider how a person with PSP must feel. Alone.

A lot has happened since Mum passed away, including the arrival of her first grandchild, Lily, in 2017. Having spent her life caring for other people’s children (as well as her own) as a registered childminder, it hurts me so much every day that my Mum never got to hold Lily, to spoil her, or to watch her grow into the wonderful little girl she is today.

For six years my Mum was progressively taken from us. Five times I have trained for those London Marathon events, and though it has felt tough at times, it’s not lost on me how what my Mum went through all day, every day was so much worse.

I will run my sixth London Marathon for PSPA this year to finish what I said I would do. Six Marathons for Six Years. It’s the least I can do to honor my Mum, and the most powerful thing I can do to raise money to show all those other sufferers and families who battle with sadly knowing exactly what this disease has in store for them, that they are most certainly not alone.

My fundraising page is filling up with messages of support for me and for the PSP Association.

And I can’t thank you enough for that.

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