GPs running the London marathon for Arthritis Research UK

GPs Dr Johan Byran and Dr Harriet Edwards are running the London marathon on 26 April to fundraise for Arthritis Research UK.

Dr Johan Byran

I'm from north London and was only 18 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a debilitating and painful condition affecting more than 400,000 adults in the UK.

My diagnosis came just weeks before I was due to start medical school at University College London. At one point, I was struggling to walk 200 yards down the street to get to lectures, but on Sunday, I will tackle the London marathon, my fourth marathon in 2015 in aid of Arthritis Research UK.

I will be undertaking 12 marathons this year, travelling all over the world in the hope of reaching a £12,000 target to help Arthritis Research UK to continue its work in supporting world-class research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. I'm celebrating 10 years of living with, and surviving, rheumatoid arthritis and I now want to give something back by fundraising for this fantastic charity.

As well as exciting research, the charity provides excellent medical education programmes and a vast array of patient information.

At 18 years old, I was dependent on my brother to care for me in university halls, I was destroyed physically and I felt powerless to change my circumstances.

The idea of running at all, let alone running a marathon, felt impossible, but I am taking on these challenges because I won't allow the disease to dominate my life.

As a doctor working in the NHS, I know there isn't enough time or funding to help patients like myself reach their full potential.

Supporting charities such as Arthritis Research UK fills that void and is so important in helping patients to do more than just exist, but instead, to live full lives.

Last year, I founded Beat Your Demons, a social healthcare project promoting exercise for people with chronic diseases.

Our primary goal is overcoming adversity with achievement. This resource is used by doctors, patients and their friends and family to foster a patient-centred, holistic approach to managing chronic disease.

I recently spoke at the Moving Mountains conference in Churchill College, Cambridge, and sat at the same table as Professor Stephen Hawking. At this event, I was able to share my story and my ambitions for charity fundraising.

I'm honoured to put on the orange charity vest and continue to beat my demons and help fight the pain of arthritis for all those 10m people living with arthritis in the UK.

My hopes and dreams haven't changed because I have a disease - it just means my journey may hurt a little more and take a little longer.

Dr Harriet Edwards

I am a junior doctor who has just finished my GP rotation in London. I was only five years old when I was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a condition affecting 15,000 children and adolescents in the UK.

Inspired by my sisters, who have raised thousands of pounds for Arthritis Research UK over the years by taking part in running events, I'm now ready to undertake my own challenge.

Despite enduring pain and discomfort, and undergoing a variety of treatments, I qualified as a doctor two years ago after studying at King's College London.

Arthritis has had a huge impact on my life and I would like to help stop it doing the same to others. My sisters have put themselves through many runs and half-marathons in their fundraising for the cause.

That's why, and with my recent experience of the advances Arthritis Research UK has made, I can't wait to run a marathon myself.

This will be an enormous challenge. However, if I can raise money and represent the charity as a young person with arthritis, I will be truly honoured.

If you would like to help Johan and Harriet to reach their fundraising targets in the London marathon, you can contribute via

  • Johan
  • Harriet

For more information about the work of Arthritis Research UK, go to

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