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Triple challenge to help charities
7:30pm Tuesday 24th April 2012 in News
A DETERMINED dad has completed the first of a trio of exhausting challenges in support of two charities that have offered invaluable support to his children.
Andrew Astill, a 48-year-old project manager from Mulberry Drive, in Upton-upon-Severn, took part in the first Worcester Marathon on Sunday, finishing just outside his target time of fourand- a-half hours.
Over the coming months he will also be tackling the Upton Triathlon and the Crowle 10k race, with all his efforts raising money for the Children’s Chronic Arthritis Association (CCAA) and Olivia’s Vision, a charity that helps people suffering with uveitis, a painful eye condition.
Mr Astill’s younger son Laurence, 16, was first diagnosed with both arthritis and uveitis when he was just eight.
Both are conditions where the sufferer’s immune system is overactive causing it to attack the body by mistake, and Laurence has to give himself weekly injections of strong medicine.
Although medication has stopped the arthritis from getting any worse, the uveitis is still prone to flaring up, sometimes requiring hourly use of steroid eye drops and even steroid injections straight into the eye socket.
His older brother Will, 20, is currently studying theoretical physics at Sussex University. He suffered from juvenile arthritis but eventually grew out of it, however it has left him with collapsed arches in his feet and he is now waiting for keyhole surgery to help alleviate the problem.
About one in 1,000 children suffer with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), while 80 per cent of childhood uveitis occurrences are linked to pre-existing or yet to be diagnosed cases of the condition.
Mr Astill said: “Being diagnosed with uveitis and/or JIA is bewildering for children and parents alike. Most of us have never heard of these diseases until the day a doctor tells us that we have one of them.
“Both conditions can strike at any age, and take one of several forms, but what is similar is the pain and frustration that affects the child, and a feeling of disbelief affects the whole family.”
Mr Astill has raised £345 to date and hopes to increase that further when he takes on the Crowle 10k on Sunday, May 13, and the Upton Triathlon on Saturday, July 14.
Anyone can donate by going to at http://bit.ly/Hhae7z.
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