Stephanie Cawthorne will be fulfilling a long-held ambition on November 1 when she heads to Peru to take on the Inca Trail. For the 25 year old from Rayleigh, who co-presents the breakfast show on community station, Funky SX, the trip is about more than an amazing experience. She is planning to raise £3,400 for a charity which means a great deal to her, Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).
“I was born with Alagille Syndrome, a disorder which affects the liver, kidneys heart and other systems in the body,” explains Stephanie. “It affects my skin, causing severe itching, and makes me susceptible to other illness. I will always have this condition and I can tell you that growing up with something you do not truly understand is hard. Alagilles caused me a lot of pain when I was younger but now my hormones have settled, I realise I am one of the lucky ones. Although I take medication, I have not had to have a liver transplant. I lead a busy life, doing promotional work for local radio and our local theatre and have just started my own online health and wellness business with Arbonne.
“This brings me to why I am doing this challenge. Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) have been there for us from day one. Initially they supplied my mum with information about this rare condition and, as I grew up they were there for me. I went to events they organised and met other young people with similar conditions. I always remember having the best time. It was just a break from life, with people who understood why I had scars on my arms, and couldn’t sit still for itching! This is something which was difficult to explain to people who didn’t have to live with liver disease. I remember that probably until the age of 17-18 I would never get my arms out in public, preferring to overheat in the summer, than dare wear a t-shirt or vest!
“Knowing how tough growing up with a liver disease can be, I think it’s really important that any child or teenager in this situation has access to the kind of support which CLDF provides and I want to do my bit to make that happen. I have always been encouraged not to let my liver disease hold me back which is why I have chosen the Inca Trek as my fundraiser. I am traveller at heart, and spent a year travelling in Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia, which fuelled my love for a challenge. I have lived in America, and more recently Inter-railed across Europe, so I decided that this year I would push myself even further. I am not scared of the Trek and cannot wait to meet a llama or two!”
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 about Stephanie’s plans. It’s great to know that she felt supported by CLDF when she was younger and wants to do the same for other young people. We hope the Inca Trail proves an amazing experience for her.”
You can support Stephanie’s Inca Trail for CLDF by going to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stephcawthorne.
For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.