A grandmother from Holybourne, Hampshire, has put her fear of heights aside to walk across London’s O2 arena, raising over £1100 for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) a charity which means a great deal to her family.
Anna Irwin, 45, knew nothing of the charity until last year when her baby granddaughter, Sofia, was born with the rare liver disease, biliary atresia.
“The condition means that Sofia’s liver does not drain bile properly, so when she was just eight weeks and four days old, she underwent a five hour operation to enable bile drainage and prevent further liver damage,” explains Anna. “Unfortunately, this hasn’t worked. Sofia is now in end stage liver failure and has been listed for a liver transplant.
“Obviously this is a very difficult time for the whole family and particularly my daughter and son-in-law. I know they have received useful information about Sofia’s condition and her transplant from Children’s Liver Disease Foundation and this was so helpful in those early days when we were trying to explain the situation to family members.
“I felt so helpless that I couldn’t do anything to fix my granddaughter or the pain and anxiety that her parents are going through. But I knew I could help the charity who are helping them so I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do something positive. Because I have a fear of heights, I thought a walk over the O2 would be a suitable challenge which would encourage people to sponsor me. I knew it would be difficult but it’s nothing compared to what Sofia and her parents are going through right now.”
With the support of her partner, Vinny, Anna not only completed the walk but raised a fantastic £1135 for CLDF, more than doubling her original £500 target.
“I must admit it was emotionally hard and I wouldn’t want to repeat it again but I’m proud of myself for doing it,” says Anna. “I’m pleased with my fundraising total and money is still coming in. I’ll definitely be setting myself a new challenge for next year!”
Rebecca Cooper, 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 on voluntary donations, so we are delighted and so grateful to hear what Anna has done for us. The funds she has raised will enable us to continue supporting families just like hers when they need us most.
You can still support Anna’s O2 walk by going to Anna Irwin is fundraising for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (justgiving.com)
For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.