Phil Godfrey, a member of Solihull Rotary, has hit the six-figure fundraising mark to fight a disease which killed his wife four years ago.
Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an incurable life-threatening autoimmune condition which causes the blood to clot too quickly in veins, arteries and the brain.
It can cause potentially fatal events such as strokes, heart attacks, blood clots in the lungs and deep vein thrombosis.
In pregnancy, APS is the most important treatable cause of recurrent miscarriage and a woman is five times more likely to suffer a stillbirth.
Phil’s late wife Christine suffered from APS for 40 years before passing away in 2015.
So far, Phil has raised £108,000, and part of this has been used to fund the first-ever Royal College of GPs’ eLearning Training Course to help doctors have a greater understanding of the syndrome.”
The Rotarian from Solihull in the West Midlands said: “I am trying to raise the profile and awareness of the disease by raising funds to make GPs more aware of the condition through training.
“A recent patient survey indicated that 37% of GPs are not even aware of APS.
“Early diagnosis is critical to the successful treatment of APS and, as GPs are on the front-line of primary care, the process of educating them is crucial.”
Phil is working in tandem with APS Support UK. The charity aims to achieve earlier diagnosis and offer support to anyone affected by APS through increased awareness, education and research.
So far, Phil has raised £108,000, and part of this has been used to fund the first-ever Royal College of GPs’ eLearning Training Course to help doctors have a greater understanding of the syndrome.
The major part of the money will go into a much-need APS research fund which will be managed by world-renowned APS professors.
Phil had originally planned to fundraise with a walk from the Scilly Isles to the Shetlands. However, he was forced to abandon the attempt after 350 miles because of an injured knee.
So his revised plan involved a ‘Round Britain Rail Trip’ in stages, talking to as many Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs as possible.
Phil said that APS can strike anyone at any time, but usually, it can happen between the ages of 20 and 50-years-old.
His wife Christine began suffering symptoms similar to Multiple Sclerosis, but this was a misdiagnosis.
It took ten years for her to be sent to a specialist at St Thomas’s Hospital in London, who properly diagnosed APS.
By this time, though, Christine had lost use of all her limbs until she was paralysed from the neck down.
Phil reflected: “For an active, still young and independent woman, being crippled in this way was unimaginable.
“Appallingly, had she had an early diagnosis, this could have been prevented. Eventually, Christine succumbed to the disease and lost her life.”
Phil is using a UK wide network that includes talks to local Rotary Clubs, Inner Wheels, churches and any clubs interested.
So far, he has travelled more than 27,000 miles, spoken to 92 Rotary clubs, with a further 40 booked in 2019, and more for 2020.
For more details, contact Phil Godfrey by email or phone – 07770 406870.