Olivia Bateman Aplastic anaemia is an extremely rare disease, one that has hit my family twice in the last 50 years. It hides in the background, lurking for God knows how long before it baffles doctors with its symptoms and beats its victims into a weak, vulnerable painful existence.

I can't tell you what it's like to live with the disease, nor what it's like to lose someone to it. My uncle lost his wife to Aplastic Anaemia in 1979 before I was born. It devastated him and our family. At the time, knowledge and funding for the disease was limited, it very much still is but thanks to charities like The Aplastic Anaemia Trust things are getting a little easier. Those with the disease are getting diagnosed quicker, they are being presented with more treatment options, they are living longer and their families and friends are receiving the care and support they too need.

My Auntie Mary is an extremely special woman, trying to describe her in type 10 Arial with words that have been bashed out on a plastic keyboard seems utterly absurd and quite impossible, it just can't be done, and anyone who has merely crossed her path in life would agree with me.

Aplastic Anaemia grabbed hold of her so tightly she very nearly gave into its vile, life sucking grip. But she didn't. She fought stronger than anyone I have ever seen fight for anything and as a result lives ciclosporine free today. She can leave the house without fear of catching a common cold and it killing her, she can travel the world and visit her family without worrying about what bug might infect her body, she can eat sushi again and grind a pepper mill without having to leave the room and ask someone to do it for her.

The disease, the drugs, the life she was forced to live as a result of this devil taking over her body didn't defeat her. She used to say she felt like she was waking up with a hangover every day but without the joy of having sunk several glasses of vino the night before.

This marathon, in Paris on 14th April is for you Auntie Mary, it's for you and for all those who have even been affected by Aplastic Anaemia, the patients, the families, the friends and the medical staff who fight so tirelessly to rid the world of this obnoxious disease. It's going to hurt, I'm probably going to cry(!) but it's got nothing on the mountains you have overcome in recent years. The morning after we will wake up with the hangover to end all hangovers and it won't be because of any stupid disease or medication it will be because we will have drunk ALL the wine! Sláinte, santé, cheers my Mary, I love you. Olivia Bateman