Gayle takes on the Virgin London Marathon to raise money for PWSA UK

May 12, 2021

At Consensus, not only do our colleagues dedicate their working lives to supporting individuals with learning disabilities, autism, and complex needs including Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, but many also dedicate their spare time to taking part in challenges and activities to raise money and awareness for external organisations that are committed to doing the same.

One such colleague, is Gayle Thomas, a Behaviour Practitioner for Wales & North, and part of Consensus Positive Behaviour Intervention Team, who will be taking part in the London Marathon on Sunday, 3rd October 2021 to raise money for the charity Prader-Willi Syndrome Association (PWSA) UK.

Prader-Willi Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder affecting 1 in 22,000 births; it is characterised by a lack of satiety cues which means an individual never feels full and has an insatiable appetite, as well as a diverse range of cognitive, physical, and behavioural challenges.

Gayle’s role as a Behaviour Practitioner, involves assisting supported individuals with complex support needs (and their support teams) to increase independence and quality of life while reducing the intensity, frequency, and duration of behaviours of concern that may carry risk.

Gayle says, “At Consensus, we support over 90 individuals with a diagnosis of Prader-Willi Syndrome across 13 of our specialist residential and supported living services. PWS can result in an individual and their families facing many challenges in life, and PWSA UK provide a vital source of support, training, and research, which was why I decided to use this challenge to raise much needed funds for PWSA UK.”

Gayle first took up running when she found herself in a situation where she needed to ‘shield’ due to the COVID pandemic and running became a way that she could get outdoors safely. Describing her initial running efforts as ‘terrible,’ Gayle joined the Running Punks community whose support, motivation, and encouragement, enabled her to improve her running and gain both a sense of freedom, and a few new friends along the way!   

After reaching half marathon level, Gayle decided it would be a great opportunity to combine her love of running with doing something that will increase support for others and decided to enter the London Marathon to raise money for PWSA UK, “Running has given me so much – it increased my well-being, given back some freedom and helped me keep going when I felt isolated during lockdowns. Now I’d like to use what has helped me to help others”.

Having successfully won a place and begun the journey on what is going to be a big challenge, Gayle is determined to give it her all, with her target goal to raise £2000 for the association.

To find out more about Gayle’s London Marathon for PWSA UK or to support her in reaching her fundraising target, please visit her Just Giving page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=GayleThomas&pageUrl=1