Local mum Natalie Wade is undertaking the Reading Marathon in April after being inspired by her daughters friend Stanley Leggett, whose sister, Lacey tragically died in 2014 of Mitochondrial Disease.
The Lacey Pearl Trust Fund was formed to continue Lacey’s fight against mitochondrial disease by directly supporting families who care for children with mitochondrial disease at home and by raising awareness of the disease.
Natalie’s daughter Ava is in the same class as Lacey’s brother Stanley Leggett. Natalie told us “I was aware of The Lacey Pearl Trust Fund, but after a conversation with Lacey’s Mum, Lisa Leggett at the school gates one morning and hearing more about Mitochondrial Disease I knew in my mind I wanted to also run in Lacey’s memory and support the Leggett family to continue the fight against mitochondrial disease”.
Lacey had mitochondrial depletion disease within her TK2 gene which weakens the muscles and eventually leads to organ failure. Mitochondrial Disease is incurable, and Lacey sadly passed away on 14th February 2014.
Natalie added “Most people have never heard of Mitochondrial Disease, which is where I am so keen to learn more and drive the awareness”.
In the UK about 10 million people suffer from diseases where mitochondrial dysfunction is believed to be involved. Mitochondrial Disease is caused by the Mitochondria (which is found in nearly every cell and is responsible for producing energy) failing to produce enough energy for the cell or organ to function properly, causing less and less energy to be generated.
Natalie is no stranger to running and raising money for charities after discovering her love of running during the second lockdown. Natalie said “In January 2021, I set myself a goal to run 26 miles (equivalent to a marathon) across the month as a fitness goal to mentally help me get through the second lockdown in January 2021.
“It was daunting going into a second lockdown knowing more what to expect after the first lockdown in 2020 and the worry kicked in of managing work and home-schooling so I knew I had to do something.
“I was running little and often; I’d do a 3-mile run when it felt achievable and I’d clock up a mile or so running with my daughter Ava as a ‘PE lesson’ and it really helped my mind so much that I have not stopped running since.
“Over the last two years I’ve run through the seasons changing, battled ice, rain and heatwaves and captured so many stunning photos of views of Andover and surrounding villages whilst on route!”
The marathon is also a personal goal for Natalie as it’s her 40th birthday this she wanted the challenge to complete before she turned 40. Se added” I had already decided back in 2021 that with my 40th birthday on the horizon for 2023 I would run a half marathon as a goal before turning 40”.
As well as raising money for the Lacey Pearl Trust Fund, Natalie is also raising money for Cancer Research UK, charity close to her heart.
Natalie went on to say “In 2022 I signed myself up for the Cancer Research ‘run 31 miles in August’ challenge. Cancer had creeped in a little too close to home in 2022 with two friends suddenly loosing loved ones, and a few scares for people close to me as well as the news Dame Deborah James had sadly passed away around this time too.
“This was my biggest running challenge yet, and despite coming down with Covid the week before August started, it didn’t stop me. I was not feeling well for most of August and at times it felt an impossible goal to achieve. I powered through clocking in most the miles at the end of the month, including my first 10k. I was determined to achieve the challenge and raised an amazing £200 and learned about where my money would go for the charity.
“I was determined and motivated after this and signed up for the 2023 Reading Half Marathon, continuing my support for Cancer Research and being able to share more about what the money I was raising was helping towards and also wanting to run for another charity – The Lacey Pearl Trust Fund.
“I have have two incredible charities to motivate me on race day – Sunday 2nd April. I have really focused on in training these last four months in preparation thanks to the support of my PT James Rogers at Velocity gym helping coach my strength training and have found the fun in gaining a running buddy with Mandy Mountain as we will be running together on race day. I wish I knew soon how fun it is to run with someone! It certainly makes the distance go by quicker! “
Cancer Research fundraising page – https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/natalie-runs-reading-2023
The Lacey Pearl Trust Fund fundraising page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/natalie-wade4