Clare Frenay from Elmdon has never let the fact that she was born with a rare liver disease hold her back. The 27-year-old is not only a proud intensive care nurse working at Guys and St Thomas hospital in London, but she has just completed her first half marathon, raising £1020 for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) to help other young people in her situation.
Clare has intrahepatic cholestasis caused by BSEP deficiency, a condition which can cause vitamin deficiencies, severe itching, and problems with fat digestion amongst other symptoms, and necessitates daily medication and regular medical checks.
“It’s not every day that you meet people with congenital liver disease, and it must have been worrying for my parents when I was young,” says Clare. “However, I always remember receiving information from CLDF and reading articles which made me and my family feel supported, informed and comforted that we were not alone in fighting my liver disease.
“I am exceedingly lucky to live a very full and healthy life at present and while my liver condition is stable I want to make the most of this and push myself to be the fittest I can be. I should be in my prime at the age of 27 after all! At the same time, I have been very keen to raise some money for CLDF for a while now. My mum has been raising money by selling CLDF Christmas cards to friends and family ever since I can remember, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps, give something back, and raise awareness. When I heard about the Royal Parks Half Marathon it sounded like a great event and the perfect opportunity to test my fitness and do some fundraising.”
Clare excelled at both, completing the course, which started and finished in Hyde Park on October 14 in two hours 29 minutes, despite the pouring rain. What’s more her fundraising total now stands at £1020, double her original target.
“I had a great day despite the horrendous weather” says Clare. “The last 5k was pretty hard going as I’d never done over 16k before. But for my first half marathon I was happy with merely getting over the finish line and running the entire way. I really enjoyed the run and the scenic route past several landmarks in London. And I’m so pleased to have doubled my fundraising target. My friends and family have been fantastically generous and supportive and I cannot thank them enough. It’s been very heart-warming.”
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’re delighted that Clare chose to do her first half marathon for us. Not only has she raised funds which will enable us to continue supporting families around the UK but she is a true inspiration to other young people with liver disease and we are really proud of her.”
You can still support Clare’s half marathon challenge by going to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/clare-frenay.
For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.