Wearside fundraiser defies rare illness which threatened to push his eye out

Andrew Robertson in action.
Andrew Robertson in action.
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A brave triathlete has completed ten gruelling challenges inside a year despite a flare-up of the disease which threatened his life.

Andrew Robertson suffered the horrifying experience of a disease, that affects one in a million people, trying to push his left eye out.

Andrew in action.

Andrew in action.

It has happened to him since he won the Sporting Excellence title at last year’s Best of Wearside Awards.

He has since completed ten duathlons and triathlons inside a year and raised £5,500 for the charity Vasculitis UK.

“They helped me when I needed it and now it’s my turn to do something for them,” said Andrew of Great Lumley. “What gives me great inspiration is the comments I’ve received from fellow sufferers which I’ve given hope that they can resume a normal life.”

Andrew, 45, has a condition called Wegener’s Granulomatosis. It’s a one-in-a-million disorder that causes inflammation of the blood vessels.

Exercise and sports is a great relief for me. It stops me worrying about the grim reaper I’ve been carrying. Now I just see it as a naughty monkey that plays up now again

Andrew Robertson

In his case, it caused a rash around his eyes, pain behind his eyeballs, aching bones, “horrendous” toothache, fears he might have tuberculosis and even led to him facing a fight for life.

At one point, he was coughing up blood and even needed months of chemotherapy. Thankfully, his condition was found relatively early. In other extreme cases, it can lead to kidney failure and death.

In Andrew’s case, Wegener’s Granulomatosis has left him with 15 per cent lung damage.

Yet despite that, he kept up his keenness to keep fit and tackled marathons, half marathons, duathlons and triathlons.

Andrew fights the condition which threatened his life.

Andrew fights the condition which threatened his life.

He completed ten challenges in 2016 despite a flare-up of the disease which threatened to push his left eye out.

He said: “Exercise and sports is a great relief for me, stops me worrying about the grim reaper I’ve been carrying. Now I just see it as a naughty monkey that plays up now again.”

Andrew was one of the list of fantastic winners at last year’s Best of Wearside Awards.

Now comes the search for this year’s champions.

The Best of Wearside Awards 2016 are under way with some fantastic backers.

Sponsors in this year’s competition are Calsonic Kansei, Gentoo, Vantec, Station Taxis, TWR, and Sunderland Live.

To nominate, just send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable. Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.

Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).

Send all of that to Lynn Wild by no later than 5pm on Friday, December 30, 2016,

Email those entries to lynn.wild@jpress.co.uk or send them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland,DH4 5RA.