ALLAN Coldicott spent six weeks lying in a hospital bed unable to see. It made him all too aware of just how easy it is to take sight for granted.
The former Stratford postman was diagnosed with the ultra rare Sweet’s Syndrome just a week after he had proudly carried the Olympic Torch through Stratford just over two years ago, an honour bestowed on him as the longest serving member of Stratford Athletic Club.
The incurable auto immune disease – which affects just one in three million people – left Allan’s eyes covered in blisters. They were so bad it was just too painful for him to open his eyes, leaving him living in darkness.
Allan went from a super-fit runner to someone struggling to walk and, when he did eventually open his eyes, someone with impaired vision.
But the father-of-two has made remarkable progress since he was diagnosed, as The Observer has previously reported.
And having pulled back on his running shoes, the 57-year-old continues to set himself goals as he makes further strives back to fitness.
Allan – who has run a number of half-marathons – has now reached the point where he wanted to give something back as a thank you to the medical profession.
And having been without his sight, Allan is now raising money for Stratford Hospital’s £1 million appeal to provide cancer and eye services as part of the £20 million revamp of the Arden Street hospital.
And how else would he be raising money than through running. He is taking part in the Forest of Arden Half Marathon on September 28, along with friend Neville Evans, who Allan actually introduced to running a couple of years ago.
Allan, whose vision has also improved, said: “I know what it is like not to be able to see, and even though it was temporary, it was frightening. At the time of course, I did not know if I would actually see again.
“Fortunately I did, but I now want to give something back, and what better way than by supporting the appeal, which will mean people in Stratford who need cancer and eye services will not have to go to Warwick and Coventry.”
Allan and Neville, a self-employed gardener, have raised £1,000 so far. Anyone who would like to add to their total can contact Allan on 01789 292290.
Visit www.stratfordhospital.co.uk for further details on the Stratford Hospital appeal.
* DAVID Rolfe is set to run a half marathon to raise funds for Stratford Citizens Advice Bureau on Saturday October 5.
He will be running at Blehheim Palace and hopes to raise another £500.
“A lot of local people benefit from the services provided by Stratford CAB but many don’t realise it’s a charity.” explained David. “I’m very pleased to be doing my bit to help them.”
To support David, you can visit the Bureau in Meer Street or visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/David_Rolfe to make a donation directly.
Hospital run – Allan Coldicott (right) with Neville Evans and chair of Stratford Hospital League of Friends Lila Morgan.