It is a debilitating illness, the affects of which are often invisible, but only half of those who suffer from it live to celebrate their 40th birthday.
Around 10,000 people in the UK are living with cystic fibrosis – a genetic condition which causes the internal organs – particularly the lungs and digestive system – to become clogged with thick sticky mucus, resulting in chronic infections.
Hannah Lawrence, from Hadleigh, was one of those who fought the disease. She died in 2010 at the age of 23.
Inspired by memories of her best friend, Michelle Foster, from Elm Road, is planning to take part in her first marathon, to raise awareness of the disease and funds for treating it.
“I am running in memory of my beautiful friend Hannah, who sadly died from this terrible illness,” said the 26-year-old. “She was the most inspirational person I have ever met.”
Michelle said despite suffering from the condition, Hannah never let it get in the way of leading a normal life.
“She was always smiling, and had the most infectious laugh,” she said.
“She was extremely brave, and never let her illness get in the way of anything she wanted to do or complained about having the disease.
“She worked as a speech and language therapist and was an amazing dancer, doing tap, modern and jazz.”
After attempting to get a place in the ballot for the London Marathon for the last six years, Michelle has signed up to run the 26.2-mile race for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
She will be joined on training runs by boyfriend Paul Gardiner, who has also secured a place in next year’s race.
“The money I hope to raise will be used for research for people suffering with this awful disease and improve the quality of the life they live,” said Michelle.
“Thinking about Hannah will motivate me to cross the finish line.”
To sponsor Michelle, go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/michellefoster17.