A West Bridgford man is running the Robin Hood Half Marathon this weekend, just one year after having two thirds of his lung removed, in order to raise money to thank the team of medics that saved his life.
Ben Webb, 46, had been training to run last year’s Robin Hood Half Marathon when he was struck down with a lung infection. He was admitted to the City Hospital, Nottingham, but despite doctors’ best efforts, they could not find the cause of the illness and told Ben he would need surgery to remove the affected area of his lung to prevent the infection from spreading. Ben underwent seven hours of surgery to remove two thirds of his right lung.
Now, less than a year after the surgery, which left him only able to walk a few steps, he plans to complete the same half marathon he planned to do last year – all in order to raise money for Nottingham Hospitals Charity, in honour of the hospital staff who treated him. And he’ll be joined by a 371-strong team of runners comprised of family, friends and pupils from his daughter’s school.
“I decided to raise money for Nottingham Hospitals Charity because I wanted to give something back to the amazing nurses, doctors and surgeons who looked after me,” said Ben. “I spent more than a month in the respiratory unit, and the care I received from the nurses and doctors, who genuinely are the lifeblood of the NHS, was second-to-none.
“The care I received on the thoracic unit in the lead up to and after the surgery was also amazing! From only being able to walk a few steps in the days after the surgery, I was able to walk around the hospital, and within a few weeks walk a few miles. Walking turned to cycling, and then to running.”
Ben will be joined by a huge support team at the half marathon, which takes place on the streets of Nottingham this Sunday (24th September). Not only will ten adult family members and friends run alongside him in the half marathon, but a huge team of 361 pupils from his daughter’s school, West Bridgford Infants and Junior School, will run the mini marathon at the same time, all in support of what Ben calls his ‘Looking after your lungs’ campaign.
Runners will include Ben’s wife Zoe, 40, and their children Luke, 13, and Evie, 6, who are all taking part in the mini marathon. Wife Zoe and daughter Evie, who attends West Bridgford Infants School, helped recruit other pupils from the school to take part in support of the campaign.
Evie said: “I was sad when my dad was in hospital because he was in for a very long time and I missed him being at home. We decided to raise money for the hospital so they could have more equipment to help the doctors make people feel better.
“I’m really looking forward to the run because loads of people have signed up and will be running behind a huge banner that I made with my mum.”
Ben said: “I am quite nervous about making sure I get round, but I am also very excited because it will feel like an amazing achievement after major surgery. The incredible support I have received from friends and family has made the whole journey much easier.
“The sheer number of kids running the mini marathon to support our ‘Looking after your lungs’ fundraising campaign is actually quite overwhelming. I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the children and their families for their continued support.
“My friends and family in the half marathon team have also been absolutely amazing. We have helped each other during the training by running together and offered lots of supportive encouragement. And their fundraising efforts have also been absolutely incredible!”
Siân Griffith, Fundraiser at Nottingham Hospitals Charity, said: “We’re delighted that Ben has decided to fundraise for Nottingham Hospitals Charity after receiving such good care at our hospitals. We’re all in awe that he’s taking on such a big challenge so soon after his lung surgery, and wish him and his team all the best for Sunday. We will be there to cheer them on!
“We’d also like to say a huge ‘well done’ to Evie, who is an absolute superstar. She’s only six years old but has done a fantastic job of rounding up her fellow pupils at West Bridgford Infants and Junior School in support of her dad.”
Money raised by Ben and his team will go towards respiratory and thoracic services at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, to help other patients with lung problems. The team has so far raised more than £5,000.
One piece of respiratory equipment funded by Nottingham Hospitals Charity in recent months is the ProLab – a piece of pulmonary function testing equipment to be used at Nottingham Children’s Hospital, to support the early diagnosis and treatment of lung disease in children.
To sponsor the ‘Looking after your lungs’ team please go to www.justgiving.com/companyteams/LookingAfterYourLungs
For more information about Nottingham Hospitals Charity, to get fundraising ideas or to make a donation, please go to www.nottinghamhospitalscharity.org.uk