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Sandwell Council employee takes on London Marathon in aid of rare conditions

Published 27th November 2018

A Kingswinford man who is battling a rare vascular condition is taking on the 2019 London Marathon for charity.

A Kingswinford man who is battling a rare vascular condition is taking on the 2019 London Marathon for charity.

Alan Blackham suffers with True Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (True TOS) and has undergone three major operations which he feared could rob him of the proper use of his arms.

But just two years after his final major operation Alan, who works as a trainer in Sandwell Council's transport unit, is taking on the London Marathon.

True TOS is a painful condition involving the compression of the nerves and arteries that supply the arms.

Alan, who is 37, said: "I took a long time to get there but I was eventually diagnosed with True TOS around five years ago. My hands would turn blue and I'd have no blood flow to my arms.

"It's very painful and the most severe form of the condition," he added.

"It was really difficult to get a diagnosis and it was the first time my surgeons had ever done these operations."

Alan's case was so rare it features in a medical journal. He's now preparing for his first marathon in April 2019 in aid of Findacure - a UK charity which funds research into rare conditions and diseases.

"I've not run a marathon before," said Alan, who works in the council's Integrated Passenger Transport Unit.

"Running is my enemy. I love boxing and weightlifting, but I worried that after the operations the only thing that would work would be my legs. So, I said I'd run a marathon," he added.

"Luckily the operations went well and I manage my condition myself without painkillers. Exercise really helps with that. Now I just want to raise money and awareness of TOS and other rare conditions."

Read more about Alan’s journey and support him by donating to Findacure.