By Jennifer Logan
Three sisters are taking part in the Big Fun Run today (Saturday 23 July) for their other sister who suffers from a rare genetic disorder.
Emily Cowdrey, 26, of Central Avenue, Telscombe Cliffs, Jamie Cowdrey, 23, of Chichester Drive East, Saltdean, and Rachel Fant, 17, from Dartford, are due to tackle the 5k fun run which sets off in Hove Park at 11am.
Their sister Katie Fant, 20, from Dartford, suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) so they are raising money for the charity that helps people with the condition.
The trio have raised more than £500 so far, over their target for EDS UK Charity. And they hope to raise awareness, as like their sister, many wait years to get a proper diagnosis.
Emily Cowdrey said: “I’ve decided to do the fun run to raise some awareness for Katie’s disease as I feel like I’d like to do something for her.
“I can’t buy her things that you could buy a sister for birthdays or at Christmas so I thought by helping to raise money for her condition, maybe one day this will help her.”
Katie Fant had EDS diagnosed last year. It is a chronic illness which causes the collagen – or glue – in the body to become faulty.
At the severe end of the EDS spectrum, she has suffered from both postural orthostatic tachycarda syndrome (PoTS) and a mast cell disorder for four years.
They have led to her health deteriorating to the point where she has to take up to 60 tablets a day to keep her condition stable.
She said: “I was lucky that it only took me three years for a diagnosis. The average is about 15 but some people can go most of their lives unwell and being led to believe that their symptoms are in their head.
“I’m so proud of my sisters doing the big fun run. It makes me cry every time I think about the fact they are doing this for me.
“It’s such a thoughtful thing to do and I’m honestly so lucky to have them. They do so much for me and I’m so grateful.
“They have done incredibly to raise what they have and I’m shocked and so happy as that amount of money will go so far for a small charity like EDS UK.”
Despite having EDS, Katie completed her A levels in hospital and is now completing a university degree. She earned a first class grade for her first year.
Since 2007, Big Fun Run runners have raised more than £5 million for hundreds of charities.
The events aren’t timed. The aim is to being runners together with family and friends to raise money for a good cause and to do something healthy in the great outdoors.
Kay Julier, managing director of EDS UK, said: “Without fantastic fundraisers like Emily, Jamie and Rachel, EDS UK would not be able to provide vital support and information to people affected by this distressing condition.”
To donate to EDS, visit the charity’s Just Giving page.
To find out more about the condition, visit Katie’s blog.