I come up with these ideas, and my husband, Yuebi, takes them one step further and then all of a sudden, we’re committed to these mad plans and we can’t back out. This is pretty much how we’ve ended up in the position of attempting to run 125km around the entirety of London on the Capital Ring route in the daylight hours of the summer solstice. Which is nuts. Especially when you have a lung condition. But when you have a lung condition, organisations like Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital Charity and like the CF Trust touch your lives and you feel inspired to go the extra mile for them.

My life with Cystic Fibrosis

When I was born, it was pretty much immediately apparent that I had Cystic Fibrosis. It’s strange for me to think of a time when my parents, my family, didn’t know what CF was. But that was the position my parents found themselves in in 1993: a full life with three children and then, a sick newborn who had this thing called CF with its own vocabulary and paperwork and uncertainty.

The Royal Brompton Hospital is internationally renowned for its Cystic Fibrosis care, expertise and research. Living in south London, we were lucky to be relatively nearby so my parents fought to get me on their paediatric list. There began one of the longest relationships in my life, the one I have with the Royal Brompton. I have pretty much always been under the care of the Royal Brompton. It is a bit of a North Star, lighting my way through these murky waters: I always seem to find myself looking to them, trying to follow their directions the best I can.

A lifetime of care at Royal Brompton Hospital

Writing this, I can think of a hundred different memories I’m sure many families and patients recognise. There’s the early years of Professor Bush’s wild ties, Jackie grinning hello at the paediatric clinics, my granny giving the Rose Ward nurses homemade meringues and gluing my face to the fish tank in the lung function department.

Then there’s the coming of age movie of going to my first clinic appointment alone with the steady smiles of the adult CF team, the time spent studying for my degree from rooms on Foulis Ward with supportive nurses taking down my obs, and the nerve-wracking experience of introducing my Royal Brompton life to Yuebi, the boyfriend who is now my husband.

Recent chapters include finding my wedding dress in one of the wedding dress shops on those streets I know so well from the station to the Fulham Road wing (after a long summer of inpatient stays), tentatively asking the team what CF means for trying to start a family and of course, COVID pushing a move to virtual clinics and Foulis’s transformation to the new day ward. I have always known the CF team are just an email away when I need them.

That’s just a snapshot of the impact that the Royal Brompton has had on my life. You can’t put a value on consistent, reliable, excellent care from friendly faces when living with an unpredictable, ever-changing condition like Cystic Fibrosis. And after a life together, how can you not want to give a little back? Especially after the year we have all had, none more so than the brilliant staff in our hospitals.

Somewhere along the way of living with CF (probably after begrudgingly listening to Charlotte, the CF exercise specialist, during a hospital admission) I found that I could use exercise to my advantage. Building running into my treatment has changed my relationship with my body and my CF.

The Capital Ring Ultra Challenge

Running helps me manage my chest symptoms, improve my lung function and gives me a little respite from the boredom of endless physiotherapy. Last year, shielding from Covid-19 put an abrupt stop to running. My lung function and fitness plummeted. It was in those days and weeks inside our flat that our biggest, maddest fundraising idea was formed.

This entire year, Yuebi and I have been planning and training and grinding to get to the start line on June 20th and take on the Capital Ring, a continuous loop around London. We plan to leave home at first light and try to make it back there before it gets dark. Training hasn’t been without its setbacks and I have been battling a lung exacerbation for a couple of months. But, as ever, the Brompton have had sound advice and treatment plans to keep me moving.

On Sunday, Yuebi and I will be ready to tackle the Capital Ring. We have a crew of friends around the route ready to refuel us and keep us going, and we’ll have GPS live-tracking so our family, friends and supporters can watch our progress throughout the day. Alongside the two of us pounding the pavement, we’ve launched a virtual relay encouraging supporters to run (or walk or move!) for 30 minutes wherever they are on the day - this way, we know there will always be someone out there running with us, keeping us going! If you’re interested in signing up, donating or seeing the live tracking, please take a look at our fundraising page for more information!

Whilst we’re running, Yuebi and I will be thinking of everybody at the Brompton and how they’ve supported us, and so many  families like ours, over the years. And if I don’t manage the entire 125km because my chest says it has had enough of running, I will listen and stop but I will know that I did as much as I could have to cross that finish line. And that’s enough.

Inspired to support Juliet and Yuebi with this incredible challenge? Visit their website to find out how to donate or run with them on the virtual relay. 

Capital Ring Ultra Website