UK Cypriot, Hollie Paphitis conquers the London Marathon for the United Kingdom Thalassaemia Society.

Hollie Paphitis, a vibrant 26-year-old growth marketing manager, championed the staggering 26.2-mile London Marathon last Sunday 2nd October 2022 in 4:16:03.

Running her first full marathon, Hollie’s motivation was purely to raise awareness of thalassaemia, a genetic blood condition passed on from parents to their children.

Hollie said, “With thalassaemia being extremely prevalent in the Mediterranean I strongly believe that awareness is imperative, especially in the younger population of people like myself from Cypriot heritage. I, like many others, was not aware that a simple GP blood test can tell you if you are carrying the thalassaemia gene.

Learning more about how difficult and challenging it is to live with a moderate or severe form of thalassaemia with life-long blood transfusions and extensive daily iron removing medication, I felt compelled to help and contribute to the excellent work of the UKTS. UKTS not only provides advice, support and education tailored to all audiences but advocates for individuals and their families battling the demands of the condition. I am thrilled I completed the marathon for this incredible charity.”

As well as raising much needed screening awareness for thalassaemia, Hollie raised an incredible £3,030.00 to support the work of the UKTS. Anyone wanting to add to her funds raised can do so via the following link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hollie-paphitis

 

The TEAM at UKTS would like to say a huge thank you, congratulations and well done to Hollie.

Romaine Maharaj UKTS Executive Director said “It is a real pleasure to have Hollie join TEAMUKTS. Hollie is a highly motivated individual who not only trained hard but supported UKTS as much as she could. Raising much needed funds to support our work was truly the icing on the cake. Thank you so much Hollie, we look forward to collaborating in future. Best of luck in all your life’s ambitions. I know you will continue to achieve amazing things!”

 

What is thalassaemia?

 

Thalassaemia forms part of the haemoglobinopathies, a group of genetic blood disorders affecting the production of haemoglobin, when the body makes less haemoglobin than normal.  It used to be the case that thalassaemia was confined to certain geographic regions. This is because it initially developed as an evolutionary response to malaria; thus, it mainly affected people from malarial regions such as Asia and South East Asia, the Mediterranean, South America, the Caribbean, Northern and Central and the Middle East.

If a person was a thalassaemia carrier, it appeared to give them some protection against malaria. The human body had developed an effective evolutionary defence but had not anticipated what might happen if two carriers had children. This is where the issue arose, in the form of thalassaemia major.

Whilst it was initially prevalent in the regions mentioned, this is no longer the case, and anyone can be at risk. Due to several socio-economic and demographic changes – for example, the migration of communities over the centuries and the rise of inter-racial families – thalassaemia is no longer confined to people from certain ethnicities.

This is why everyone should get tested. As said earlier, because carriers are generally healthy, you may not know if you are a carrier unless you have the test.

For more information please go to www.ukts.org or contact UKTS office on 0208 882 0011.