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How Aliyah inspired Jodie to take on her first marathon


Jodie Haggerty Howard and Olivia Wheatley have been best buddies since they met on their first day in the Sixth Form at Davenant Foundation School, Loughton, bonded by a love of great food and great music. So when Oliva suggested to keen runner, Jodie, that she take on the London Marathon to raise funds for a charity which means a great deal to her family, Jodie was up for the challenge!

So next month (April 21) Jodie, a 23 year old archaeologist, will take part in her first London Marathon in a bid to raise at least £2000 for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF), cheered on by Olivia and her sister, Aliyah.

“Although I knew that Olivia’s younger sister had been born with a liver disease, it wasn’t something I thought much about,” explains Jodie, who lives in Chingford. “I would see her at school and she always looked OK. So it wasn’t until she needed a liver transplant in 2021 that I understood the true gravity of her condition.

“Olivia told me about the support which CLDF had always given to Aliyah and her parents.  When she was younger, Aliyah went on trips such as CLDF Breakaway where she enjoyed wild camping and bushcraft and had an amazing time making new friends with other young people who had a liver condition. And through the charity’s comprehensive online platform, Aliyah was able to research her own condition and find out what to expect from being on the liver transplant list and living life with a new liver.

Aliyah’s experience inspired Jodie to take on the London Marathon


“She’s now doing really well and thriving as a first year child nursing student. Aliyah has always been a warrior but it’s good to know that CLDF have got her back and will be there for her whenever she needs them. Her family want this support to be available to anyone in this situation which is why, when Olivia spotted an opportunity to run the London Marathon to raise funds for CLDF, she filled in the application form on my behalf!

“Although I was initially reluctant as it seemed such a huge challenge, I must admit I am really enjoying training and now the big day is getting nearer, I’m super-excited as well as a bit nervous. Olivia and Aliyah will be there with the rest of their family and alongside mine, screaming at the top of their lungs every time I run past. I have especially assigned Olivia with the task catching me at as many check points as possible and being my water/ electrolyte pit stop!”

Michelle Wilkins, Head of Services at 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 that Jodie is doing the London Marathon for us. What a wonderful way to support her friend’s family! I hope she really enjoys the experience and we’ll be there to cheer her on!”


You can support Jodie’s London Marathon challenge by going to Jodie Haggerty-Howard is fundraising for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (

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