A mother and daughter from Edinburgh completed the Great North Run together raising £1000 for a cause very close to their hearts, Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF). Twenty years ago this summer, when she was just nine months old, Millie Stobie Platts, who was born with the rare condition, Alagilles syndrome, received a life-saving liver transplant. She and her mum, Alison, decided to mark the anniversary by fundraising for the charity who has provided them with information and support since her diagnosis.
“We first came into contact with CLDF when Millie was a baby and diagnosed with this rare and incurable condition,” explains Alison, 55. “They do fantastic work supporting families like us, who live with childhood liver disease, but have been hugely affected by a fall in income because of Covid-19. Millie’s transplant anniversary seemed a good time to take on a personal challenge and raise funds to ensure they can continue to be there for other families as they were for us.”
Twenty-year-old Millie, a psychology student at Dundee University, feels she has directly benefited from the charity’s support. “Because childhood liver disease is rare, it’s easy to think that no-one understands what you are going through, but CLDF has put me in touch with other young people like me. This was particularly beneficial during the pandemic when I had to shield for so long and otherwise would have felt so isolated.”
While both Millie and her mum were committed to raising funds for CLDF, they knew that taking on the Great North Run would not be easy.
“Although I have done some road running in the past, it’s been a very long time since I did a half marathon, so it has been quite a challenge building up the distance again,” says Alison. “Millie is more of a sprinter – she has previously won track medals at the British and World Transplant Games – so doing the longer training runs was something new for her! The main thing was, however, that we made it round and didn’t care a bit that we were well beaten by a variety of pandas, rhinos, unicorns and superheroes – and we’re so proud to have met our fundraising target!”
Millie and her mum, Alison at the Great North Run for CLDF.
For Alison and Millie, the fact that they were able to enjoy the run together illustrates the gift of organ donation:
“I was very lucky to receive a donated liver when I was a baby,” says Millie. “. It’s really important to ‘have the conversation’ so your family know your wishes regarding organ donation, and others like me get that chance at life. I wouldn’t be here without my transplant, and without my donor and their family who had that conversation. I am so grateful to them.
“It truly is the kindness of strangers,” says Alison. “We can’t thank Millie’s donor and family enough. Organ donation decisions are made in such difficult circumstances, but they mean the world to families like ours.
Alison Taylor, Chief Executive of Children’s Liver Disease Foundation commented: “CLDF is the only UK charity dedicated to fighting all childhood liver diseases and we rely on voluntary donations, so it’s brilliant that Alison and Millie took on the Great North Run for us. What a wonderful way to commemorate the anniversary of Millie’s transplant and how inspiring for other families affected by childhood liver disease to see them take on this challenge.”
You can support Alison and Millie’s Great North Run by going to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alisonandmillie-greatnorthrun.