A father from Camberley is running the London Marathon in aid the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) later this month, and says it’s a charity his family is “absolutely indebted to”. Andrew Humberstone and his wife Denise were living in Saudi Arabia when their first daughter Kathleen was born 20 years ago. Kathleen was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome shortly after birth and the family felt very isolated and alone. After finding out about the DSA through a German friend, they faxed the UK charity and 10 days later, received a full pack of information about the condition.
“That information was a godsend to us. It was full of information Kathleen and us so desperately needed. Without the DSA, I’m not sure how we would have coped but one thing is sure, we wouldn’t have coped as well as we have.”
Kathleen, who is now 19, has gone on to model in Paris, represented brands such as River Island, attended London Fashion Week and addressed the UN in Geneva about her life with Down’s syndrome. She’s bilingual, has a long-term boyfriend, and is currently studying at performing arts college in London. Andrew says the DSA has been pivotal in making sure people with Down’s syndrome live full and rewarding lives.
“Thanks to them, their research and studies, their reaching out – not only in the UK but all over the world – their spreading awareness, their shifting perspectives, their continuous endeavour to lift prejudices, individuals with Down’s syndrome and their families now have HOPE and a VISION for a better future.”
Ever since the Humberstone’s came to live in the UK 11 years ago, Andrew and his wife Denise have fund-raised for the charity. Denise through ultra-challenges and Andrew through running. This is the third London Marathon Andrew has tackled, even though her remembers vividly vowing to “never do it again” four years ago.
“As I’m now four years older (I’m turning 55 this year), but definitely none the wiser, I had to up my game by a few notches when it came to my training and as a result I’m arguably the fittest I’ve ever been since my 30s!! It hasn’t been without glitches (a foot injury here, an ankle injury there and a bout of man flu), but I’m pretty chuffed that since January I’ve just broken the 1,000km mark, running on average six days a week (on my own and with the wonderful Valley End Running Club). With that in mind, I’m dreaming to break my timing of four years ago and hopefully even run it in sub four hours!”
Kathleen has been a source of constant support and inspiration for her father as he trains for the 26.2 grueling miles.
“Kathleen has been very supportive, although she did say I was mad at first! There’s been many a time when I didn’t feel like going for a run but then again, I just had to look at her and see how far she’s come along and there’s my ready-made motivation! She never fails to wish me good luck at every run and invariably tells me “be safe” when I go and “well done, Daddy, how many kilometers this time? I’m so proud of you, Daddy!” when I return.”
Andrew will run the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 28 April, and you can sponsor him via the link here.