A Wiltshire family’s mission to raise £50,000 to help a mum of three with multiple sclerosis treatment starts this weekend.
The challenge involves 10 marathons in 10 days taking the runners from Plymouth to Great Bedwyn.
Phil Boardman is embarking on the mammoth challenge to raise money to enable his wife, Maddy, to travel to Mexico and receive life-changing medical treatment called HSCT.
He will be joined by Maddy’s cousin, David Hine, along with other family members, friends and supporters. Starting on Saturday (May 20), the 10×10 marathon challenge will cover more than 260 miles and ends at the family’s home in Great Bedwyn.
Maddy was just 17 when she was first diagnosed with the degenerative disease, which affects the brain and nervous system.
She is now a 41-year-old mother of three children, Bella, 12, Josie, 10, and Coby, seven.
Maddy Boardman with their three children (Image: Boardman Family)
Until recently, Maddy has been able to self-manage the symptoms of the incurable illness alongside bringing up her three children and running her own hypnotherapy business, but now the brutal condition is developing more rapidly.
The pioneering HSCT treatment is available at a specialist clinic in Mexico and specifically targets the type of MS that Maddy has, with a 75 per cent chance it could halt the condition from progressing any further.
Through their fundraising, the Boardman family have already raised £38,074 towards their target, and they hope the 10 x 10 marathon challenge will take them even closer to the £50,000 goal.
Phil, 42, said: “The kind of MS Maddy has and the length of time she has had it means there is zero treatment available in the UK for her.
“She has never taken anything for it. So far, that’s been ok, Maddy has managed well using restrictive diets, exercise, vitamins, rest, her positivity, her stubbornness, and a lot of cold baths to manage her symptoms.
“But the MS is now progressing more quickly, and life is becoming more challenging. With no drugs available in the UK, further progression is a medical certainty, and a wheelchair is getting scarily close.
“Maddy now has more bad days than she has good. Even walking our children to school and back – a few hundred yards or so, is often tricky.
“If we can get Maddy to Mexico to have HSCT there is a 75 per cent chance her MS will be stopped. It won’t be cured – the damage done will remain but it will hopefully not progress further.
“She would need to stay in a medical facility in Mexico for a month and have chemotherapy to eradicate her faulty immune system and a stem cell transplant to help reboot it.
“We have been overwhelmed with the support we have had from family, friends and strangers on our fundraising journey so far.
Maddy Boardman with the family’s pet dog. (Image: Boardman Family)
“The marathons will be our biggest challenge to date, and we are training hard to ensure we can complete the physical feat.
“We are also welcoming anyone who would like to join the races with us, either for half days or for full legs of the challenge, where we will cover more than 260 miles of beautiful scenery our region has to offer.”
The full schedule is:
– Day 1 – Plymouth/Seaton Loop
– Day 2 – Torquay to Exeter
– Day 3 – Cheddar to Bath
– Day 4 – Blandford Forum to Salisbury
– Day 5 – Weyhill (Andover) to Newbury
– Day 6 – Pangbourne to Hungerford
– Day 7 – Wokingham to Guildford
– Day 8 – Sevenoaks to the London O2 Arena
– Day 9 – Covent Garden to Windsor Castle
– Day 10 – Wiltshire marathon loop, ending in Great Bedwyn
To donate see www.gofundme.com/f/get-maddy-to-mexico