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Do you know the signs of the UK’s second biggest killer?

Every 3.5 seconds someone in the world dies from it. It claims more lives annually in the UK than breast cancer, bowel cancer, prostate cancer and road accidents put together… but why does it go unnoticed?

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When I had a migraine and what felt like the world’s worst sickness bug in July last year, I would never have believed it if I was told I’d be on a drip on the emergency floor just a few hours later. It turns out I had something I’d never heard of before, even though it’s the UK’s second biggest killer – and it turns out I wasn’t alone.

Survivors of sepsis, or severe blood poisoning, are often left with life changing disabilities, like amputated limbs and even though it’s more common than heart attacks, less is known about it. Few seem to recognise its symptoms and some doctors struggle to even spot it.

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I’m one of the lucky ones; a call to the non-emergency line (111) at the right time with some quick thinking from health professionals meant I received treatment just as septic shock (the final stage of sepsis) was setting in. So thankfully, I’m here today to tell this story, and to help raise money for The UK Sepsis Trust.

Shocked by what I’d been through, I wanted to get more information about this ‘hidden killer’. I got in touch with The UK Sepsis Trust:

What is sepsis and why is raising awareness so important?

“Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is the reaction to an infection in which the body attacks its own organs and tissues. If not spotted and treated quickly, it can rapidly lead to organ failure and death. The numbers are staggering – every year in the UK 250,000 people are affected by sepsis; 44,000 people die because of sepsis and 60,000 suffer permanent, life-changing after-effects.

“Sepsis is an indiscriminate killer, claiming young and old lives alike and affecting the previously fit and healthy. It’s more common than heart attacks and kills more people than bowel, breast and prostate cancer and road accidents combined.

“Better awareness, however, would result in Earlier identification and treatment across the UK, which in turn would save 14,000 lives. Whenever there are signs of infection (and infection can be caused by anything from a small cut or insect bite to a chest infection or UTI) it’s crucial that members of the public seek medical attention urgently and ‘Just Ask: “Could it be sepsis?”: with every hour that passes before the right antibiotics are administered, risk of death increases.”

Me a week before I was hospitalised, I felt completely fit & healthy. I was completely unprepared for what was coming.

If sepsis is “The Most Preventable Cause of Death and Disability in Europe”, why have so few people heard of it, and why is so little understood about it?

“Sepsis is partly poorly recognised because it mimics other conditions in its early stages and is insidious in onset – there’s no specific event that marks the development of sepsis. As such, it builds up over a period of hours or days, which makes it harder to identify. It’s also unfamiliar to many people because the focus remains on the infection that leads to sepsis, and sepsis itself goes unmentioned.”

How will donations help and what does the money go towards?

“The UK Sepsis Trust is independently funded, so it’s the generosity of our supporters and donors which allows us to continue the fight against sepsis. Headed by world leader in sepsis and NHS Consultant Dr. Ron Daniels, the UK Sepsis Trust has a clear mission to save lives and improve outcomes for survivors of sepsis by instigating political change, educating healthcare professionals, raising public awareness, and providing support for those affected.”

I’m taking part in Rough Runner, a 15km run with obstacles, and I’m running for The UK Sepsis Trust. I’ve almost hit my target but in the lead up to the event on Sunday, I would love to surpass this and raise some well needed awareness.

If you want to find out more information about sepsis go to The UK Sepsis Trust’s website.

If you wish to sponsor me on my run, visit my JustGiving page or text SVER77 £2 to 70070

HOW DO I SPOT SEPSIS?

Sepsis could occur as the result of any infection. There is no one sign for sepsis.
Sepsis is a serious condition that can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest infection.

Seek medical help urgently if you develop any of the following:

Slurred speech or confusion
Extreme shivering or muscle pain
Passing no urine (in a day)
Severe breathlessness
It feels like you’re going to die
Skin mottled or discoloured

SEPSIS IN CHILDREN

If your child is unwell with either a fever or very low temperature (or has had a fever in the last 24 hours), just ask: could it be sepsis?

Any child who:

– Is breathing very fast
– Has a ‘fit’ or convulsion
– Looks mottled, bluish, or pale
– Has a rash that does not fade when you press it
– Is very lethargic or difficult to wake
– Feels abnormally cold to touch

Might have sepsis. Call 999 and just ask: could it be sepsis?

Any child under 5 who:

– Is not feeding
– Is vomiting repeatedly
– Hasn’t had a wee or wet nappy for 12 hours

Might have sepsis. If you’re worried they’re deteriorating call 111 or see your GP.

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Brighton Marathon runners ‘on track’ to raise £80k for Chestnut Tree House

Around 12,000 people ran in this year’s Brighton Marathon, many running for various charities. Many ran for West Sussex based charity, Chestnut Tree House & are set to raise an incredible £80k!

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Two Brighton Marathon runners, raising money for Chestnut Tree House. Photo: Matt Pitts

A total of 199 people took part in the Brighton Marathon and BM10k for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice on Sunday 15 April, and are set to raise a staggering £80,000 for the charity.

Runners from across Sussex and further afield set out from Preston Park on Sunday morning, and were supported by volunteer cheer teams along the route. 97 people ran in the 10k race for Chestnut Tree House and 102 took on the 26.2 mile course.

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The first runner to complete the Brighton Marathon 2018 for Chestnut Tree House was 48 year-old George Miller from Steyning, who ran the course in 3:18:38. It was a double success for George on Sunday, as not only did the first-time marathon runner beat his target time of 3:30, but he raised an incredible £1,120 – smashing his £750 fundraising target!

George Miller finished in a fantastic 3:18:38.

George said he was very proud to be able to represent Chestnut Tree House and is inspired by the amazing work they do for children and young people with life-shortening conditions and their families throughout Sussex.

First time marathon runner, Jaimey Willett. Photo: Matt Pitts

Other Brighton Marathon runners in Team Chestnut included Steve Bird, 39, from Burgess Hill, who ran it in 3:26:28; Chestnut Tree House Trustee, David Pegler, 50, who ran a personal best of 3:35:14; first-time marathon runner Jaimey Willett, 37, from Chichester (4:18:53); and Lee Kemp, who is already planning to run his fourth Brighton Marathon next year.

Lee, 35, said:

“When I visited Chestnut Tree House, I was moved by the care services they offer and inspired by the incredible work they do. The care they provide to local children and families is so important – that’s what I run for.

Lee Kemp is planning to run his fourth Brighton Marathon next year. Photo: Matt Pitts

“I was aiming for under four hours so am delighted with my time of 3:58:19. This was the third time I’ve run the Brighton Marathon for Chestnut Tree House, and I’m already planning to come back next year! The support around the course from the charity really helps encourage me, so I’d like to thank all the volunteers who came out to cheer us all on.”

In the BM10k race, 41 year-old Steve Allen was the first across the finish line for the charity with a time of 38:57.

All runners for Chestnut Tree House were given a warm post-race welcome at the charity’s tent in the Event Village, where they could meet some of the team, refuel, and recover with a complimentary massage from Niki Harrington of Symbiosis.

Steve Bird & his daughter, Amber.

Lauren Gowing, Events Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House said:

“The event went really well and it was great to meet our runners and congratulate them on their achievement. We feel privileged that so many people chose to run for us. It’s wonderful to see the familiar faces of runners who have supported us for some time, but equally inspiring to meet people who have chosen to support Chestnut Tree House for the first time this year.

“We need to raise £6,850 every day to cover the cost of all Chestnut Tree House’s care services, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The £80,000 raised by our Brighton Marathon and BM10k runners will cover our care costs for over 11 days, which is incredible. Ultimately, support like this helps us to continue helping life-limited children across Sussex and South East Hampshire.

“We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who ran for us, as well as our supporters and volunteers who helped on the day. Thanks too to the Brighton Mini Club for showing their support during the cavalcade, Symbiosis for offering complimentary massages, and South Downs Water for donating water to our runners.”

Chestnut Tree House will soon have places available for next year’s Brighton Marathon on Sunday 14 April 2019. To find out more visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/brightonmarathon.

Some of the people running for Chestnut Tree House, pre-race.

Chestnut Tree House opened its doors in 2003 and currently provides care and support to 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire – at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The cost of providing this vital service is over £3.5 million per year, yet the hospice receives less than 7% central government funding so relies heavily on the generosity and support of the local community and events like the Brighton Marathon to continue providing vital care to children and families.

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