Mum's marathon-martial arts challenge raises thousands for Peterborough City Hospial

Jeanine Helliwell
Jeanine Helliwell
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A mum who relies upon intravenous nutrition to keep her alive raised £8,000 for charity

Mum-of-two Jeanine Helliwell, from Thurlby near Bourne, who has Crohn's Disease, earned her 1st Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do at a grading event in Bristol on Saturday 21 April and then headed to London to take her place in the London Marathon the next day.

For most athletes this would be a tall order, but for Jeanine it was an even bigger deal as she only started running in November, has a stoma and receives her nutrition through a tube called a Hickman line, rather than eating meals.

She ran the hottest London marathon on record with two litres of intravenous nutrition and a pump in a rucksack on her back to ensure she could sustain the energy to run the 26.2-mile course.

Jeanine, who is a regular patient of the gastro team at Peterborough City Hospital, was a non-runner before November 2017, but took it up to help improve her fitness levels while she pursued Tae Kwon Do. She added: “I started with a fast-track ‘Couch to 5k’ running plan and initially I didn’t enjoy it, but managed to train up to 20 miles. I was able to get a marathon place thanks to the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK, so I plan to split the money I have raised between them and Inflammatory Bowel Disease services at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals where I have received lots of good care over the years.”

She added: “The marathon was a tough challenge, but I managed to complete it in 5 hours and 20 minutes which I was pleased with. The support from my family and friends has been brilliant and helped me through the tough points. I only did this because I wanted to prove to my friends and family that I am not ready for the scrapheap, despite some huge health setbacks in recent years.”

Jeanine wants the cash she raises for the hospital to be used for specialist nurse training to enable a trainee IBD nurse to run their own clinics and widen the service for patients. She also hopes it will help fund the purchase of some specialist mobile equipment used to guide Hickman lines and other intravenous lines into position, which will reduce the need for patients to have a procedure in an operating theatre instead.

Gill Anderson, IBD Specialist Nurse, said: “We are in awe of Jeanine and her phenomenal sporting efforts. She is an inspirational lady who is determined that her condition does not get in the way of her goals. We are hugely grateful to her, and those that sponsored her, for helping us improve services for our patients.”