Getting ‘race-fit’ to complete a half marathon involves dedication and training. For one very special entrant to this year’s Great North Run a ready supply of liquid oxygen from BOC Healthcare was also vital to her success.
Vanessa Smith powerwalked the 13.1 miles of the Great North Run – now firmly established as the world’s greatest half marathon – to promote chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and to raise more funds for research into this life threatening and life limiting disease. Vanessa has severe COPD and has been using oxygen for six years now, needing it while at rest and during activity.
BOC, a member of The Linde Group and the biggest industrial gases company in the UK, supplied Vanessa with refills for her oxygen backpack at regular intervals along the course. Vanessa travelled from her home in the South West of England to Newcastle to take part in the Great North Run and the logistics behind supplying her with oxygen during the event was made possible with the involvement of many BOC staff. Debbie Phillips, BOC Healthcare’s NE England Respiratory Advisor, accompanied Vanessa on her walk. Vanessa needed a minimum of 6 litres of oxygen per minute to be able to walk at speed during the Great Run.
In the UK, COPD claims the life of one person every 20 minutes, of every hour of every day. Vanessa made her walk on 13th September a pilgrimage for the families of those who will have lost their life to COPD for each mile of her journey and she wore a T- shirt bearing the words ‘COPD – The Fight for Breath’.
Andrew Harvey, Head of BOC Healthcare, commented “We are very proud to support Vanessa in her involvement in the Great North Run and in her effort to raise the profile of COPD, which is a frightening and debilitating condition. BOC has been supplying oxygen for many years to people of all age groups and we have built a great deal of expertise in the area of Home Oxygen Therapy.”
Vanessa is raising money for the British Lung Foundation.