Fundraising for lupus research
Images: [above] Aamer with his boys at the London Marathon [below right] Aamer after running the London Marathon
Aamer Safdar is a pharmacist at Guy’s and St Thomas’. He’s fundraising in memory of his sister-in-law Zainab Beg, who received treatment at the hospital for lupus, which she was diagnosed with at five years old.
Zainab sadly passed away recently during her Hajj pilgrimage (one of the five pillars of Islam, a journey to Mecca completed by most Muslims at least once in their lives). She’s buried in the holy city of Madinah.
Aamer says, ‘Zainab was only 25 years old when she passed away. I would like to honour her life by raising funds for lupus, so that other patients can have a better quality of life, and healthcare professionals can have a better understanding of the condition.’
Aamer ran the London Marathon 2016 to raise money towards lupus research.
A need for more research
Lupus is a condition that is still not well understood by doctors, with 90% of sufferers being women. Lupus involves the immune system producing too many antibodies (which fight disease), which then attack healthy tissues and cause reactions leading to symptoms such as fatigue or muscle pain.
Treatments for lupus have advanced dramatically in recent decades. ‘Much research is being done to better understand the treatment of lupus,’ Aamer says.
‘In her last few years of life, Zainab was receiving immunoglobulin therapy from the Lupus Unit at St Thomas’ to alleviate the effects of her symptoms… My fundraising efforts are to raise money for further research, and to help publicise the effects of immunoglobulin treatment for lupus sufferers.’
By supporting research into diseases like lupus, Aamer aims to increase understanding and awareness of them in patients and the public, and ultimately to improve outcomes for people diagnosed with these conditions.
Showing determination and resilience
To fundraise for this research, Aamer chose to run the gruelling London Marathon, a 26-mile race through London that usually takes around four and a half hours for the average runner to complete.
Aamer says, ‘I chose this event because of the dedication required to train for the London Marathon, requiring real life changes in order to complete my runs, whilst also maintaining a full-time job, being a father, son and husband.
‘I know Zainab would be really proud of me for running this race, for pushing on – even when it feels easier to give up. I want to get to the finish line with my head held high, and knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life.’
Giving back to the hospital
Aamer is grateful for the care given to his sister-in-law during the time she was receiving treatment, which took place at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and meant he was able to visit her while at work. That's why he wanted to give back, and to demonstrate some of the same determination and resilience that people like Zainab and others show during difficult times.
‘It will be patients like Zainab who I will use as my focus in those last few miles, when my legs will be feeling like lead and my body will no doubt be shouting at me to stop,’ Aamer says.
‘The support does not need to be financial if you can’t afford it, but even just sharing the message and making others aware is support in itself.’
You can support Guy’s and St Thomas’ just like Aamer, by running the London Marathon 2017.