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Graham Calder’s story Last October, I was travelling home from Preston after visiting my...

On track for the Great Manchester Run

January 5, 2018

Graham Calder’s story

Last October, I was travelling home from Preston after visiting my daughter, Grace, and her family for the weekend. I was still on the motorway when I got an awful phone call – my grandson Luca had suffered a nasty scald in an accident with boiling water, and the emergency services were on the way. I immediately turned the car around and headed back to be with them.

It was heartbreaking to hear what had happened. The only relief I felt was hearing how quickly Luca was in safe hands with the North West Air Ambulance paramedics, who were with him within minutes of the accident. Grace travelled with Luca in the helicopter to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where the paramedics handed him over to the wonderful care of the hospital’s nurses and doctors.

Thanks in part to the speedy arrival to Alder Hey and the care Luca received en route, he didn’t sustain any serious injuries. He was in hospital for a few days, and is now making a fantastic recovery. From start to finish, the care and professionalism of everyone who was there for Luca was outstanding, and I’m so grateful to the air ambulance pilot and paramedics who helped him that day.

So, next year I’m going to be taking on one of the biggest physical challenges of my life in support of the North West Air Ambulance’s fantastic service, by running the Great Manchester Run’s Half Marathon. I want to give back to the charity and crew who were there for my 17-month old grandson when he needed them most.

Getting ready to run…

It wasn’t until Luca was airlifted that I realised the North West Air Ambulance relied completely on donations. Knowing how crucial the service was to my grandson that day motivated me to do something – anything – to say thank you. I’d taken up running a few months before to improve my health, so when I saw that I could raise money for the charity by taking on the Great Manchester Run’s Half Marathon, it made perfect sense to get involved.

I’d been a good athlete in my teens, but work and life eventually got in the way! Since taking up training for the Half Marathon, there’s been a massive improvement in my fitness – I’ve actually lost 5st so far. I’m already comfortably running 10K, and as we edge closer to the big day, I’m ready to keep pushing past the milestones to reach the finish line.

As part of my training, I’ve been running every Monday with my local Park Run group. I’d really recommend group runs to people who want to take up the sport. The tips on the Great Run website have also been invaluable in making sure my training is on schedule.

For anyone who’s thought about taking on a physical challenge for the charity, or who might be on the fence about taking the plunge, I say just go for it. The charity offers so much support once you’ve signed up, and joining Team NWAA means I’ve been given a lot of good advice and resources for fundraising ahead of the big day. I’d love for you to join me out there – it’s just one way you can make a real difference to an amazing charity. It’s literally a case of signing up here, pulling on your trainers and getting out there .

Although it sounds a bit cliché, you honestly never know when you or a loved one will need the North West Air Ambulance Charity’s service. Running a Half Marathon is my way to say thank you for all the charity has done for Luca. Wish me luck for 20th May – and I hope I’ll see you at the starting line!

Find out more about how you can get active with Team NWAA here.

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