John Gordon

My Mum, Kristine McCabe, passed away - at the age of 39 -  unexpectedly overnight at home in March 2008. She died as a result of a simple cold that had developed into pneumonia. Lupus was to blame.

She leaves behind; my dad, Raymond (49), and my younger brother and sister, Dean (18) and Claire (16).

Lupus is an autoimmune disease which interferes with the immune system. Our body's immune system is our natural defence against illness and infection. So when our immune system detects the presence of an infectious agent, such as bacteria or a virus, it sends white blood cells and antibodies to attack it.

However, someone who has Lupus will typically have too many white blood cells because of the immune system's inability to control and regulate itself. In which case, antibodies that are released by the immune system begin to attack healthy tissue, cells and organs.

My Mum was one of the first women to be diagnosed with Lupus in the UK in 1989. After that, her quality of life took a dramatic decline. She was unable to work and was limited to simple daily tasks. Later on in her life I began to look after her and the rest of my family, and became a young carer whilst in primary and secondary school.

At no point did she complain, moan about her condition or her quality of life. She was always upbeat and determined to carry on.

If my Mum was able to battle through the pain; I - at the age of 24 - can almost certainly swim 1.5km, cycle 40km and cross the finish line after a 10km run. So if you're in London on the 22nd July 2017 come on down to the Docklands to cheer me on and watch me #tri4mum.

You can follow my progress on Twitter @tri4mum and on Instagram @roastpotatoe.