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My way of connecting with my mom

Taking on a running fundraiser is always going to be both a challenge and commitment. Even more so when you have a health condition yourself, are still coping with the loss of your mom and you’re studying for A Levels. Here, Demari who is 17, explains why he was motivated to complete two half marathons within eight days for CLDF.


I lost my mom to liver cancer in December 2022. By last September I knew I wanted to do something special in her memory so started researching liver related charities. As soon as I discovered CLDF I immediately knew this was the charity I wanted to support.

I have Sickle Cell disease and when I was younger I would go to a children’s specialist hospital every summer. I was surrounded by younger people who were less fortunate than me and were worse off because of their conditions. Since then, I have been grateful that I’m as well as I am but saddened by the way people’s lives can be changed by a medical condition. With CLDF, I found a way to give back to a community I can strongly relate to; to young people whose health means they may struggle in their everyday lives.

I thought that taking on two half marathons would be a good fundraising challenge as I’ve never tried anything close to that before. And I decided to do them on Christmas Day and January 2nd. I picked Christmas Day as it’s a day for being together with family and the people you love so this was my way of connecting with my mom without her physically being here. And then January 2nd as it was the closest to New Year’s Day (so felt like I would be starting the year with her) but also gave me enough rest time.


I did both runs on Turks and Caicos Islands, in the Caribbean. It’s where my mom was brought up and where I lived until I came to England to do my A Levels at Wymondham College in Norfolk. I created two different routes comprised of significant places. For the first half-marathon, I started at her first home, passed our church, her place of work and encompassed our neighbourhood. The second one took in her first church, her grave, the place of her first internship and the last restaurant we went to together.

Training was tricky. Because of Sickle Cell, I would find that my legs and hip would become sore after the first km of training, my breathing would be shallow and I would find it difficult to keep my stamina. It was also a mental challenge. I would often question whether I really could take on something like this. However I was hugely helped by my best friend who had recently run a half marathon. She came up with my training plan and was there to run with me on every training session.  I also had my dad. For my first half marathon, he had gotten up at 5 am with me to ride alongside me on a bike whilst I ran. This meant so much to both of us and brought us closer together.

I was actually quite calm about the whole thing until the morning of the first half marathon when I suddenly felt incredibly nervous. I calmed down by reminding myself why I was doing this; not only for me and my mom but the children out there, suffering from liver diseases. About 8km into the first half marathon I wanted to quit as I felt so tired but I persevered and now I’m so glad I did.

Having completed them both, I’m delighted to have raised £578 for CLDF. I also felt empowered as I became a part of the 0.01% of people globally who do a marathon a year. Because of Sickle Cell, I never thought this would be possible but I’m so pleased that all the training paid off, I was able to honour my mother in some way and make a difference in the world.



Join the discussion One Comment

  • Valrie says:

    Demari, your reasons for your effort is VERY VERY touching. It brings tears to my 👀.
    Your mom Nadia, along with us, are extra extra proud of you.
    Please continue in this positive path for a needy cause. SUCCESS will SURELY be yours.
    💕Love you lots my dear grandson….. 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙏🏽

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