TWO friends of a Hereford woman who suffered with the debilitating effects of Lyme disease are running marathons to raise awareness of the illness.

This Sunday, Sarah Barrow will run the Brighton Marathon and the following Sunday, Greg Bishop takes on the London Marathon.

Both are running in memory of their friend, Felicity Watkins, who suffered so severely from Lyme disease that she took her own life last April, aged 30.

They are also raising money for Caudwell LymeCo Charity to fund research into the disease. Greg will be the first runner ever to raise money for Caudwell at the London Marathon.

Felicity, who was known as Fizz, lived in Lyde, near Hereford, and saw countless doctors and suffered a great deal of pain and relentless fevers.

She travelled abroad for diagnosis and treatment but, tragically, too late. There is no proven cure for Lyme disease that has not responded to standard antibiotic treatment.

Sarah, aged 33, was a close friend of Fizz's. She said: "It's hugely important to me to help raise money for Caudwell Lyme. For years I saw how Fizzy struggled with numerous unexplained symptoms that simply destroyed her quality of life.

"Lyme disease is one of the most under-researched illnesses in the western world and if I can just do a little bit to help raise public awareness and fund further research around this atrocious disease then I've achieved what I set out to do."

Greg, 34, said Fizz was "incredibly sweet and thoughtful" and had a beautiful soul.

He said: "It's really important to me to help raise awareness of the disease so that no-one else has to go through what Fizz and her family and friends have again."

Greg's friend, Nick Westwood, who is from Hereford, is running this Sunday's Brighton Marathon as he also wanted to help - he is raising money for Caudwell too.

Lyme disease can strike anyone at any time. It is an infection spread by tick bites that attacks the nerves, the brain, heart, joints, and eyes, and can also cause skin rashes. The disease is the most common and fastest-spreading disease in Europe that is caught from biting creatures, spreading at 14 per cent a year throughout Europe.

The NHS has treatment guidelines for Lyme disease for the first time since April 11, issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. These guidelines cannot offer a cure for long-term cases of Lyme disease like Fizz, but they are an important step forward especially as they highlight the urgent need for scientific research.

To sponsor Sarah go to, to sponsor Greg go to and to sponsor Nick go to