Patient inspires Forth Valley Royal Hospital nurse to get healthy and active
A patient with Huntington’s disease has provided the inspiration for her nurse to look after his own health and well being.
In fact, Forth Valley Royal Hospital neurology Nurse David Thomson (56), along with his wife Teri, will even be taking part in an online virtual marathon after building up his fitness through the My Zen Run fitness challenge.
David said: “My Zen Run has helped us to go from being couch potatoes to enjoying a much more active lifestyle. Last year I ran 5Ks 31 times in one month and we’ve carried on doing much more regular exercise.
"It’s improved our mental and physical health to the point where I’ve signed up for a virtual marathon later this year. I feel better than I have for years, and I’ve lost more than three stone.”
And David has one person to thank for his lifestyle transformation.
“One of my clients, Marie Short, helped to set up the first My Zen Run,” he said. “She encouraged me and I haven’t looked back since.”
Falkirk woman Marie (50), who was presented with an MBE in 2019 for services to volunteering, was 19 when she tested positive for Huntington’s – the incurable
neurological disease which causes severe physical and mental symptoms, including reduced control over movement and a loss of ability to walk, talk, eat and swallow. It also damages thinking processes, changes behaviour, causes mood swings, brings on dementia, and leads to mental illnesses such as depression and, in some people, psychosis.
Such complex health needs often require 24 hour care, meaning the person with Huntington’s is no longer able to live in their family home.
Despite being symptom free, Marie knows her own health will deteriorate when the disease progresses so she is focused on keeping herself well and strong for as long
She said: “Someone told me that the best thing I could do for my future self was to stay healthy. I started yoga in my 20s and the running came later at the suggestion
of my wonderfully supportive husband. This combination has been a life-changer for me and I was keen to share that experience with other people – and so My Zen Run was born.
“As a volunteer trustee with Scottish Huntington’s Association, I was able to work with its fundraising team to develop something a bit different for new and more experienced runners.
"Three years on, My Zen Run continues to grow and I’m very proud of what we’ve created together. It’s great to have David and Teri joining us again. They are real My Zen Run success stories because in addition to raising vital funds for Scottish Huntington’s Association, they are making some very positive and lasting lifestyle changes for themselves at the same time.”
This year’s My Zen Run is being held from September 1 to September 30 and sees participants set their own challenge – it can be one race, a weekly target or running each day.
There’s something for everyone, with coaches offering running advice and encouragement and online group support from fellow runners to boost wellbeing.
All money raised will help to support families with Huntington’s through lifeline services delivered by Scottish Huntington’s Association.