#26MilesFor26Weeks – Holly’s Story

I am running the London Marathon for Genesis to raise money for research into preterm birth. Despite affecting 10% of pregnancies there is still no effective test to predict preterm birth or treatment to prevent it.

As an obstetrician I have always been very frustrated that there is very little we can do to help mums that come to hospital in preterm birth. When my son was born expectantly early I experienced how terrifying it was to be a “prem mum.” I had a totally normal pregnancy until 26 weeks and then suddenly I went into labour. My son was born, weighing 890 grams, three and a half months early. We spent 81 days on the neonatal unit, praying that he lived and then hoping we would escape brain damage, blindness and breathing problems. From starting parenthood in hospital to eventually being discharged with our tiny fragile baby was also hard. Although on one hand we felt incredibly lucky to be able to take him home, we were also petrified he would stop breathing again or catch an infection and have to return to intensive care. Cerebral palsy is more common in babies born so early. We tried not to think about it but in the back of our minds it was a constant worry. We were very lucky as our son is a ordinary chatty 4 year old.

Without further research into the causes and prevention of preterm birth, mums will continue to have babies born early. Imperial College is one of the leading research groups in this field which is investigates the unanswered questions surrounding premature birth. For the last 18 months I have swapped my hospital scrubs for a lab coat and am working towards a PhD with this group, my research being funded by Genesis Research Trust. It has been fascinating to be involved in the science behind preterm birth. We hope that with continued progress in this area, scientists and doctors in collaboration will be able to discover what causes preterm birth and work towards its prevention.

I am running the London marathon to raise funds for Genesis Research Trust. This will be a personal challenge as I am unfit and dislike jogging in the cold! I will however run 26.2 miles for my 26 weeker hero, Sebastian. Nothing can change what we went through but I want to do everything I can to stop it happening to other families in the future. This is only possible through research which is supported by charities such as Genesis Research Trust.

To donate to Holly’s #26MilesFor26Weeks Fund please click the button below