Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Ladies & Gentlemen, Mr John Hibbs!

I’d really like to share something important with you and tell you about a friend of mine.

John Hibbs is one of my neighbours and is one of the most inspiring, amazing people I know.   If you can help John in any way however small (or large!), it would be awesome!

Aged 13, John joined Crewe FC in 1991. Unfortunately, his dreams were not to be realised and he was forced to retire due to the onset of arthritis, which has seen him endure the associated aches and pains of the disease. He has undergone numerous operations, and now attempts to combat arthritis with medicine, a controlled diet and exercise but continues to battle against the limiting effects of ‘dodgy knees’ as he calls them. 

n May 2008 John’s sister, Viki, was diagnosed with lupus aged just 25. As a family, they had never heard about lupus which affects predominantly women but can also strike men and children too. Lupus causes the immune system to become over-active and as a result can affect any part of the body with the swelling of joints, hair loss, extreme fatigue, rashes on the face and body and in some cases, where infection attacks vital organs, lupus can lead to death.

After watching the 2009 London Marathon, John decided to take up the challenge in order to show his support for Viki and raise much needed awareness of lupus.

So far ‘Team Hibbsy’ has raised over £16,000 and have no intention of stopping there. As well as raising funds they are committed to raising awareness to increase the chance of early diagnosis in new patients. Fundraising for ‘Team Hibbsy’ has included charity curry nights, the sale of signed portraits of famous footballers, car boot sales, and many other local events.

The highlight of this mission came in October 2009 when John tweeted Sarah Brown with the hope that she would re-tweet a message to her many followers. He could not have dreamt of the response that followed – she tweeted back with the offer of hosting an evening reception to talk about lupus. Within two weeks they were enjoying the most magical night inside No.10, putting lupus into the thoughts of thousands!

John continues to tweet about lupus (@hibbsy) as well as pointing people in the direction of this website to learn more. The website continues to receive hits from all over the world and with the support of JustGiving he has received sponsors from as far afield as Canada!

John may have dodgy knees but that hasn’t stopped him, and in September 2010 he ran the Great North Run. He has also completed the 2010 and 2011 London Marathon alongside his lovely wife Kate & will be attempting a hat-trick after securing a 2012 place.

Throughout John’s journey when the training has been tough he has been spurred on by Viki’s courage and determination to overcome lupus.

In August 2011 John received the wonderful news that he had been nominated by members of the local community for the London Olympic Torchbearer ‘Moment to shine’ campaign for his tireless work to raise awareness & funds to support lupus patients and their families.
Planning is underway for what will be John’s toughest challenge yet, cycling 200 miles in a single day from Lupus Way Ellesmere Port to Lupus Street London. Find out more & get involved!

In October 2011 John founded The Hibbs Lupus Trust to raise the profile of lupus and to support patients in his local community. Working with the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Foundation the charity is already actively involved in the community and has received fantastic support from local businesses as well as celebrity endorsement from Sarah Brown, Beverley Knight and Stephen Fry. 

His motto is "Be All You Can Be!".  He most certainly lives up to it! Amazing isn't he?  Again, if all you can do is tweet this post, that would be fabulous.  If you can follow him on twitter to get updates, or like him on Facebook that would be great. If you are able to sponsor him in any way or donate anything to him to auction off for a charity event, that would be awesome. 

Thanks so much for reading this post,

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