Jo Gwilt, a midwife sonographer working in Maternity Services at SaTH, is set to take on the London Marathon in October to raise awareness of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and raise funds for the charity Crohn’s & Colitis UK (CCUK).

Jo, who hasn’t run for many years – let alone running a marathon, was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, over 30 years ago and has been under the care of Mr Bateman, a gastroenterology consultant at SaTH, ever since.

Inflammatory bowel disease affects around 500,000 people of all ages in the UK and there is currently no cure.

Jo said: “In December of last year I had a very bad flare up, was unable to leave the house and had to start on a new treatment programme, during which time I received a lot of support from CCUK.

“In January CCUK approached me to see if I was interested in running the marathon for them. I was hesitant at first as I was still recovering from a flare up and unfit as I hadn’t run further than three miles since the birth of my daughter seven years ago.

“However, I was keen to show that this disease does not define you, so I dusted off my trainers and started training.”

Jo, who has worked at SATH for over 20 years, has been supported throughout her journey by Mr Bateman, the IBD team and her work colleagues.

She is hoping to get around the course in six hours although she says she will be happy just to cross the finishing line and raise as much money as possible for the charity.

Jo added: “I used to hide the fact that I had Crohn’s disease, it is a hidden illness and can be embarrassing but I’m keen to highlight it and the support that is out there, as it affects so many people.

“I want to show everyone that just because you have Crohn’s, it doesn’t mean you should let it stop you. You can do anything.”

Support Jo on her marathon mission by visiting her fundraising page here: Joanne Gwilt is fundraising for Crohn’s & Colitis UK (