Laura Bedward from Helmshore in Rossendale, is preparing to run the London Marathon next weekend, something her parents could not have dared hope for when she was a baby. Born with the rare liver disease, alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency, Laura was given a life-saving liver transplant when she was just three years old. Now she is determined, not only to live life to the full, but to give something back to the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF), the charity which has been there for Laura and her family all along.
“Anybody knows me knows that I’m very crazy, bubbly and extremely cheeky but it wasn’t always that way,” explains Laura, a 24 year old student veterinary nurse. “Having alpha 1 made me very poorly when I was little, and I was extremely fortunate to have a transplant with saved my life. From a young age I’ve had an amazing team of doctors and nurses to guide me along the way as well as my fantastic family (mum Susan, dad Graham and brother James) who are my heroes.
“CLDF were there for my parents with information and support when I was diagnosed and my family and I have done lots of fundraising for them over the years. Doing a marathon has been an ambition since I caught the running bug three years ago and I am so excited to be taking part in such an amazing event for an amazing charity.
“Training is going brilliantly. My running partner is my friend’s dog, ‘Smudge the Staffy’ who is a great motivator as he really loves to run. He barks at me to get going if I dare stop and walk during a training session! I have also had brilliant support from my boyfriend Greg and from my family and friends who have been with me on every step of this journey.
“Having come through a liver transplant I feel that nothing can stop me. I am really motivated to raise money for CLDF because I want families whose children are diagnosed today to receive the support my family and I received. Without it, I wouldn’t be the tough cookie I am today! My goal is to inspire children who have been through similar situations to mine that you can do and achieve anything in life with love and support behind you. The London Marathon is a great way of demonstrating that and I am so looking forward to the day!”
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 that Laura is doing the London Marathon for us. Her story is truly inspirational. It’s wonderful to hear that a young person who was so poorly as a baby is able to take on such a huge challenge. We are really proud of her and will be there, cheering for her on the day!”
You can support Laura’s London Marathon challenge here.