A campaign to raise awareness of organ donation really goes to the heart of the matter for a Brackley couple.
Sarah and Phil Marshall have launched the campaign, I Give You My Heart, following Sarah’s diagnosis with an extremely rare and serious condition – idiopathic pulmonary hypertension.
Sarah, 33, said: “In a way I was relieved that they knew what was wrong with me. But it is pretty scary when you realise what you are up against.
“It is not a particularly good diagnosis. There is a chance you are going to die relatively soon.”
Before the diagnosis Sarah and Phil had been keen walkers and travellers. Now, just walking a few hundred metres is a challenge for Sarah.
She explained: “Everything you planned on doing in the future, absolutely everything I would have liked to have done has changed. You have to reassess your life completely. At this point I am just happy to be alive.”
Sarah, who worked as a teacher before her illness, is not currently on the list for an organ donation but this could change if her condition worsens in the future.
Phil, who works as an assistant manager at Barclays in Banbury, has embarked upon a challenge of completing four long-distance events and instead of asking people to donate cash he is asking them to pledge to become organ donors.
Phil said: “I hope it gets people to have a think about what they would like to happen to their organs when they die. It is a fantastic opportunity to get people to pledge to give somebody life, to give them a whole new lease of life.”
Phil’s challenge begins with the Silverstone Marathon in March, followed by Milton Keynes Marathon and the Parish Walk – an 85-mile walk around the parishes of the Isle of Man – ending with a 100-mile race in August.
So far this year Phil, 30, has run 230 miles in training and he believes he will have completed more than 1,000 by the time he crosses the finish line in the August race.
n The couple have set up a website where supporters can make their pledge. Visit www.igiveyoumyheart.org