Running for Jess – Olly prepares for his first marathon

Sixth form student, Olly Baker from Longfield, will be taking a break from his A Level studies next weekend (April 22) to take part in the London Marathon. And 18 year old Olly, a pupil at Gravesend Grammar School, has a very special reason for doing so. He wants to raise £2,000 for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) a charity which is very close to his heart.

“My girlfriend, Jess, was born with the rare liver disease, biliary atresia. Despite early treatment and surgery her condition deteriorated, and her life was saved by a liver transplant when she was just 10 months old”, explains Olly. “CLDF were there for Jess’ parents with information and support throughout this time and, as Jess grew up, the charity was able to put her in touch with other children who had been through a similar experience. I also know how much Jess’ family value the research which CLDF undertake which will take us a step closer to stopping the fatalities of childhood liver disease.

Olly Baker with his girlfriend, Jess.

The London Marathon is something I have always watched on TV and thought how amazing it would be to take part, but never thought I would be up to it. However, Jess has been my inspiration, she always has a smile on her face regardless of whatever difficult circumstances she finds herself in. I want to run for CLDF so that more people who are born with liver disease can be like Jess and live life to the full.

“Training is going surprisingly well and I’m feeling good about the day. I just hope that my efforts will raise awareness and funds for the great work which CLDF do and promote the importance of joining the organ donor register.”

Alison Taylor, Chief Executive of Children’s Liver Disease Foundation commented: “CLDF is the only UK charity dedicated to fighting all childhood liver diseases, by providing information and emotional support, funds for research and a voice for all those affected. In order to do this however, we rely almost entirely on voluntary donations, so we are delighted to hear that Jess has inspired Olly to run the London Marathon for us. It’s a huge challenge and represents a real commitment but we are sure he will enjoy the experience and we will be there cheering for him on the day.”

For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.