Steve Watson is one of our team of 44 runners taking part in the London Marathon for PSPA on 2 October. Here, Steve shares his experience of his mum being diagnosed with PSP and what has inspired him to want to run six London Marathons in honour of his mum.
“Most of you reading this are already all too familiar with what PSP & CBD are, what the diseases do, and what the devastating impact and outlook is for those affected and their families.
There’s no cure, there’s no specific treatment, and nothing I could say to you that changes any of this, but hopefully my story will show you that none of this will stop me from doing my bit to change the future.
After a lot of distressing turns of events, my Mum was diagnosed with PSP in 2009, and the effect of the disease from that point 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.
Although it took a long time for my Mum to be properly diagnosed, as soon as we were given the outlook, I knew that my response to the phrase “there is no treatment or cure” was always going to be that there had to be something I could do to change that.
I’d always been a keen runner, and so I thought that if I could attempt something like the London Marathon, I’d have a shot of using the event to raise some funds for PSPA that could not only be put towards vital research, but could also be used in some way to show people living with PSP 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.
I ran the London Marathon three times before Mum died. What she experienced was horrible and progressive but mum bravely lived with PSP every day for six years by the time she passed away on Christmas Day, 2015.
I ran the London Marathon again in April 2016 to commemorate 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.
A lot has happened since then, including the arrival of my Mum’s 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 she 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. For four years I trained for those London Marathon events, but though it was gruelling, it’s not lost on me how what my Mum went through every single day was so much worse.
It’s now my mission to run the London Marathon a further two times – London 2022 (October) and London 2023 (when it returns to its April schedule). Six Marathons for Six Years. It’s the least I can do to honour my Mum, and the most powerful thing I can do to raise money to show the families who battle with sadly knowing exactly what this disease has in store for them, that they are most certainly not alone.”
Thanks Steve, Good Luck for 2 October!
If you are interested in joining #TeamPSPA for the London Marathon 2023, please email firstname.lastname@example.org