Former patient takes on ‘7 Marathon in 7 Weeks’ Challenge

In November 2010, Sonia Campbell-Thompson suffered from a slipped disk whilst out shopping. Over the next four years, Sonia had several different spinal surgeries on the Neurosurgery Ward at Leeds General Infirmary.

Sonia was diagnosed with Degenerative disc disease, caused by one or more of the discs between the vertebrae deteriorating or breaks down, leading to back pain.

47-year-old Sonia had lots of complications following her operations, including chronic pain and cognitive problems due to her medication, but she has not let this hold her back.


In lockdown, Sonia has joined some of her colleagues at Unite Professionals to take on a ‘7 Marathons in 7 Weeks’ challenge for charity, Day One Major Trauma Support, based at Leeds General Infirmary. The charity provides help, advice, and peer support to victims of major trauma and their families.

Sonia is walking 26.2 miles a week for 7 weeks, and was unsure if she could walk 26.2 miles every week because of the long-term problems caused by her condition but has found the challenge much easier than she first expected, enjoying long walks with her husband and dog.

As someone who has been through several life-changing operations, Sonia understands what the patients are going through, “What happened to me was so unexpected, it changed my life over the next four years, I suffered from chronic pain and had to retire from my position as an Occupational Therapist. Now, I am making the best out of a bad situation, I’ve got a job that I love and I’m keeping fit and healthy.”

For Sonia, the challenge has been a great way to not only improve her mental and physical wellbeing but also to support a good cause.

Thanks to her fundraising efforts, Sonia has raised more than the £330 target, equivalent to the cost of running the charity’s service for one week.

Over 100 people have signed up to the ‘7 Marathons in 7 Weeks’ challenge so far and over £35,000 has been raised, enough to support Day One’s charitable activity for more than three months.


You can support Sonia and her colleagues fundraising efforts here.