Around 12,000 people are diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in the UK each year, it is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. Many people suffering from the disease struggle with simple daily tasks and need to adapt their lifestyle to manage their condition.

But this has not been the case for Kully Johal. The 50-year-old, from Bradford, was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2017, at just 46 years old. For Kully the diagnosis was a big shock, and he worried about the impact the condition would have on his work life and hobbies.

Kully has received specialist care from the Rheumatology department at Chapel Allerton Hospital since he was diagnosed. When Kully was first diagnosed, he had been struggling to walk due to swelling in his knees and feared he wouldn’t be able to go running anymore.

However, thanks to the incredible care and support Kully has received from the specialist team he’s been able to effectively manage his condition and is even hoping to complete the Leeds Half Marathon next month!

Kully’s wife and younger brother also both work for the NHS, so he has seen first-hand the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on frontline staff and felt it was his duty to give something back.

Kully turned 50 last December and wanted to prove that he could still complete a running challenge, despite his condition so decided to sign up for the Leeds Half and raise funds for Leeds Hospitals Charity.

One of the hospital Physiotherapists encouraged Kully to exercise regularly to manage his pain, and he says encouragement from staff really spurred him on:

“I was recommended ‘Couch to 5k’ by one of the Physiotherapists and I just kept going from there. It’s been four years of hard work, but I knew if I didn’t do something my condition would progress quicker.  I recently climbed Snowdon with my family and have been training ahead of the half marathon for 16 weeks. I’m determined to be in control of my disease, I don’t want it to define me – and taking on this challenge is a great way to prove that!”

And as if that wasn’t enough, this is only in ‘training’ for the Virtual London Marathon Kully is taking part in October in support of Versus Arthritis and Leeds Hospitals Charity.

Thanks to his ‘Yorkshire grit’ and determination, Kully’s condition has not deteriorated as badly as doctors thought at this stage and Kully hasn’t needed to go to his regular physiotherapy sessions.

You can donate to Kully’s fundraising page here.