Battling Lynn’s marathon goal

A WOMAN who cannot breathe unaided is to take part in the London Marathon. Lynn Ashton, 45, from Hartford, will be tackling the 26-mile run in April – pushing her oxygen cylinder ahead of her in a shopping trolley. She plans to take five days to finish t

A WOMAN who cannot breathe unaided is to take part in the London Marathon.

Lynn Ashton, 45, from Hartford, will be tackling the 26-mile run in April - pushing her oxygen cylinder ahead of her in a shopping trolley.

She plans to take five days to finish the course and hopes to raise £5,000 for the British Lung Foundation, which runs self-help groups and supports research.

Mrs Ashton damaged her lungs six years ago when a candle was left burning after Christmas lunch and set light to a plastic tablecloth. She inhaled the fumes.


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In the past four years, she has raised nearly £6,000 in charity walks around Huntingdon leaning on the trolley carrying her oxygen for support.

She has walked from Huntingdon to St Ives, and from Godmanchester to Papworth Hospital.

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For the London Marathon, a series of nurses from Hinchingbrooke and Papworth Hospitals will keep her company for the route.

Mrs Ashton, chairman of the charity Hunts Breathe for Life, said: "The nurses are coming with me on their days off. I'm so lucky and I have had such great help. I am training at LA Fitness in Huntingdon, with my own trainer, free of charge.

"At the end of the walk from Godmanchester to Papworth, two years ago, Hunts Breathe for Life made me a medallion and I was joking about getting a marathon medal.

"It was just a joke but then I heard about the man in the diving suit who did the marathon in five days and I thought I couldn't do it in a day but I might do it in five."

She said: "It gives me something to work towards - it gives me a goal."

Mrs Ashton, who has three children and three grandchildren, is a volunteer tutor on the Expert Patient Programme, which teaches people how to live with long-term illness.

She teaches the six-week Living Well course. She said: "It sets people goals and gives them action plans with exercise and diets so they can work towards them. It builds their confidence.

"When you get a disease, everybody loses part of their life. Six years ago, I couldn't put one foot in front of the other or bend down to tie a shoelace.

"I thought I can either sit here and waste my life or I can get on. If what I've been through helps someone else, it will have been worth it.

"There is always someone worse off. You see little children or elderly people who can't breathe and it's really frightening for them."

For five years, Mrs Ashton had a tube clipped to her nose for her oxygen supply but now has an insertion directly into her throat with a device that looks like a necklace.

She said: "People might think I have had a magic cure but I still need the oxygen supply."

She added: "There are 43 lung diseases. It is one of the biggest killers in country but, currently, there is no national Government framework. We need to keep raising awareness."

INFORMATION: The London Marathon is on Sunday, April 23. To support Lynn Ashton's effort, contact her on 01480 370952 or 07766240732 or visit www.justgiving.com/lynnashton - cheques should be made out to The British Lung Foundation.

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