Richmond man runs London Marathon for charity after daughter’s diagnosis

Chris Collier is running the London Marathon for Coeliac UK.

A Richmond man will run the London Marathon later this month for a charity close to his heart after his daughter was diagnosed with a serious disease.

Chris Collier, 37, is running the Virgin London Marathon for the fifth time and the second time to raise funds for Coeliac UK, the national charity for people with coeliac disease.

He decided to run for Coeliac UK because his daughter Abigail was diagnosed with coeliac disease two-years-ago.

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Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten.

When gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) is eaten, damage to the gut lining occurs.

There is no cure or medication for the condition; the only treatment is a lifelong, strict gluten free diet.

If someone with coeliac disease doesn’t stick to a gluten free diet, the disease can lead to other conditions such as malnutrition, osteoporosis and small bowel cancer.

Chris said: “I am running the London Marathon this year to raise awareness of the disease and to raise funds for Coeliac UK, and my target is to complete it in under three hours five minutes – it’s great that Coeliac UK will be there cheering for us on the day.

“I hope to raise £1500 for the charity. I am very happy to do my bit to raise awareness of coeliac disease by running the London Marathon – last year I did it in full riot gear but this year I will be wearing more conventional running kit! If it means that just one more person thinks that it’s worth getting tested as a result then that would be fantastic.”

Coeliac UK’s Awareness Week is taking place from 8-14 May.

The ‘Gluten Freevolution’ campaign aims to increase understanding and better availability of safe gluten free food when eating away from home.

It will highlight the growing demand across the country for improved choice and availability when eating out gluten free and to encourage both private and public sector catering establishments to provide great gluten free food that is safe from cross contamination.