Local GP to Tackle London Marathon

Dr Naz Pambakian sets himself another target

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Popular local GP Naz Pambakian is taking a number of steps to raise money for three charities close to his heart. In fact, the thousands of steps he is taking every week en route to taking part in this year's Flora London Marathon culminated last week in a jog from Acton to Watford. "It's amazing what you see when travelling distances on foot. The contrast as you pass from one neighbourhood to another is something you really don't notice in a car."

Naz told me he feels privileged to have been given a place in this year's Flora London Marathon on the 13th April. He intends to use the opportunity to raise money for three excellent causes which are important to him and his family. "It didn't seem appropriate to merely run (or jog, walk and crawl) merely for my own satisfaction."

In March 2007 Dr Pambakian's son, David, nearly died from a very large benign brain tumour two weeks before he was due to get married. Naz believes the rapid response by David's neurologist Dr Harri Jenkins, and the incredible skill of neurosurgeon Mr Nigel Mendoza, both at Charing Cross Hospital, saved David's life. After a period of recuperation he went on to marry Caroline in September last year.

Naz says: "As a family we owe these two fine doctors a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid."

40% of donations will go to the neurosciences department at Charing Cross Hospital for research or equipment as determined by David's doctors with a small contribution also going towards the work of the Chaplaincy at Charing Cross. "Rev. Christopher Guinness offered our family much needed spiritual comfort whilst David's doctors battled for his life."

The second charity to be supported by Naz is in honour of the memory of Edd Burrell - a friend of David's and former pupil of Twyford High School where he was a very popular student. "Edd had a malignant brain tumour from which he sadly died. He was a talented former member of the Ealing Youth Orchestra and studying at York University when he was taken ill. Edd's parents, Richard and Sheenagh Burrell have founded a Charity called 'Eddnets.'

'Eddnets' aims to provide mosquito nets for villages in Mozambique to prevent Malaria. The mosquito is one the most dangerous animal to mankind as malaria kills at least one million people per year (WHO figures). 20% of the donations raised will go to 'Eddnets'. "Richard and Sheenagh's support during David's illness was deeply moving for obvious reasons.

"Finally our close friends Sheila and Patrick Dixon run a Charity called 'ACET' - AIDS, Care, Education and Training. In the early 90's in the UK, ACET was helping to support the largest number of Aids victims who chose to die at home. Whilst the HIV / AIDS situation in the UK appears less critical, in Africa it remains dire, fuelled by ignorance and poverty. In January 2008 Patrick and Sheila hosted a conference of International AIDS Workers in Uganda where agreement was reached on strategies to combat HIV in many nations." The remaining 40% of Naz's donations will go to ACET.

ACET have kindly agreed to administer the funds so that there is only one portal for giving easily and tax efficiently at www.justgiving.com/drnazrunsflm After all donations are in, the above percentages will be forwarded to the relevant charities.

I asked Naz about his training: "Like many, I've been jogging for decades. I've been through many phases and have had to take time out for injuries or illness, but I've never gone longer than 18 months without jogging."

"I've never done a marathon before. The longest distance I've run was the Wokingham half marathon (13.1 miles) on February 10th - my first competition run. When I entered, my aims were not to walk and not to come last. Out of 1,997 runners I came 1,886th with an official time of 2 hours 20 mins and 50 secs."

Reflecting on the reasons why a busy GP would take on such a mammoth challenge, Naz says: "David is my happy thought to keep me jogging."

"I am hoping to raise at least £10,000 for my chosen charities. The easiest, most convenient and secure way to contribute is via justgiving (see box, right) but if people prefer to give cheques, please make them payable to ACET and send to our Practice Manager Jacquie Hawkins, Crown Street Surgery, 1-23 Crown Street, W3 8SA."

We will be following Dr Pambakian's progress over the next few weeks and wish him luck for his training.

Clare Gittins



March 18, 2008