A PATIENT from Wigan and Leigh Hospice will act as official race starter for the Leigh Community 10K on Sunday, August 11th.
Joe Davies, 75, from Tyldesley will fire the starting pistol at 9.30am to set hundreds of runners off on the third Leigh Community 10K.
The hospice, which cares for almost 1,200 local people with an incurable illness every year, is the main charity partner for the event.
Joe, who has emphysema, goes to the hospice’s Oak Centre which is open to day visitors three days a week. The service aims to support people who have been diagnosed with an incurable condition to manage their illness so that they can still make the most out of life.
Dad of three sons Joe said: “I feel fantastic that I’ll be starting the Leigh 10K- it’s something to be proud of. When Mandy from the Oak Centre came over and told me I’d been chosen I was over the moon.”
Joe was diagnosed with incurable emphysema almost 18 months ago and has to wear breathing apparatus 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He started attending the Oak Centre in May this year.
He said: “For a few years I couldn’t get my breath and my wife Kath kept telling me to go to the doctors and I said I wasn’t going. When I did go I was sent straight to hospital although I didn’t want to go because I felt fine. A specialist used a machine to take my statistics and put me on oxygen straight away for 16 hours a day.”
Joe found out about the Oak Centre at a COPD clinic and now regularly attends taking part in exercises and meeting others.
“I really enjoy the exercises,” said Joe. “Doing them makes me feel better in myself. I also like how you can meet other people at the Oak Centre who have the same condition. Coming here has got me looking at life differently. I know that there’s nothing can be done for me but I know what to expect when it comes and I feel more relaxed about it.”
All runners, joggers and walkers of any ability can join in the third Leigh Community 10K as long as they are over 15 years of age on the day of the event. Standard entry fee is £17 or £15 if you run for a UK Athletics/ARC Running Club.
Registration is at leigh10k.co.uk.
Entrants can make a direct donation to Wigan and Leigh Hospice when they register or raise money for a charity of their choice.
Profits from the Leigh Community 10K will be donated to the Hospice to support the care and support of local people with life-limiting illnesses.
A prize of a 12-month gym membership at any Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles managed Leisure Centre will be awarded to the person who wears the most original costume.
Inspiring healthy lifestyles, FCR Events Ltd, Leigh Harriers, Nectar Creative, Rotary Club of Leigh, Time2Run Events, Wigan and Leigh Hospice and Wigan Council are all working together once again to put on the event with the support of Leigh MP, Jo Platt.