Norwich student to raise money for three charities after three illnesses hit her family
- Credit: Megan Baynes
A Norwich student has revealed how she felt 'useless' after her mother and father were both diagnosed with devastating illnesses.
But Megan Baynes, 23, is fighting back and taking part in the Norwich Half Marathon to raise money for charities which are now close to her heart.
Miss Baynes, a student at the University of East Anglia (UEA), said her father Matthew was diagnosed with chronic kidney disorder just after she was born.
'So as long as I've known him he's been ill,' she said.
But in September 2015, Mr Baynes had to have a transplant, with the kidney donated by his wife, Bryony.
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'It's a real testament to how much they love each other that she would give him one of her internal organs,' Miss Baynes said.
But at around the same time of the transplant, Mrs Baynes was told she had early onset osteoporosis.
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'Her spine has been gradually crumbling so a few months ago the doctors said she'd need to undergo three major operations to rebuild the base of her spine and she's currently in the pre-op stage with lots of injections and scans,' Miss Baynes said.
Just when the family thought they had been through enough, two weeks ago Mr Baynes was diagnosed with cancer.
'He has a tumour in his stomach which has spread to the bone in his hip,' Miss Baynes said. 'Because he's on anti-rejection drugs for the kidney the cancer was able to grow much quicker than it might have done and he now has to have a different type of chemo to prevent the kidney rejection.'
But rather than let the illnesses beat her family, Miss Baynes said she was determined to work for a positive.
'It's made me feel useless,' she said. 'I'm a planner and I'm quite organised so usually when faced with a problem I make a to-do list and methodically work my way through it until I've solved the problem.
'But you can't do that with cancer or with osteoporosis and you have to rely on other people and science to fix it. For me, that's quite hard because I absolutely hate that I can't do anything to make my parents better.
'But, what I can do is raise money so that the people who have the capacity and the intelligence to fix it are able to fund research that might prevent this happening for other people in the future.'
Miss Baynes signed up for the Norwich Half Marathon after Christmas, after running two 10k races in recent years.
But she nearly dropped out when her father was told he had cancer.
'I wasn't sure I could bring myself to get off the sofa, let alone run 13 miles,' she said.
'But I realised that this approach wasn't helpful or productive so I decided to turn it around and use the half as something to focus on and give me a purpose.'
Since, Miss Baynes has been training hard and has had two friends sign up to run with her, plus another friend who was already running.
More than £900 has already been raised for Cancer Research UK, Kidney Research UK, and the National Osteoporsis Society - but Miss Baynes has set her sights on reaching £2,000.
To donate, click here.