Like many mums, Amanda Wallace from Mosborough in Sheffield, leads a very busy life. As well as looking after daughters, seven year-old Mia and two year old Hannah, she is also a speech and language therapist, specialising in adult head and neck cancer. On top of this, however, Amanda is also training for the London Marathon in a bid to raise funds for a cause very close to her heart, Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).
“CLDF has become really important to me and my husband Tom since our beautiful brave little Hannah was born with the rare and life-threatening liver disease, biliary atresia,” explains Amanda. “She underwent surgery when she was just three weeks old, but it was clear by the time she was six months old that this had been unsuccessful, and she would need a liver transplant.
“As Hannah was deteriorating rapidly, we opted for living related liver donation. I was confirmed as a suitable match and surgery was planned. It was without doubt the most terrifying and overwhelming thing that my family and I have ever been through. It was a gruelling day long surgery that ended in heartbreak and devastation with the news that the surgery had been unsuccessful, and Hannah would need another transplant.
“Thankfully Hannah received her gift of life exactly one week later. An incredible gift from a young man who lost his life but saved our baby girl.
“In the two years since that transplant there have been a number of medical complications and there are times when we thought Hannah wouldn’t make it. And it’s fair to say our world came crashing down at the end of last year when we were told that our only option is another liver transplant. The waiting is so hard. We hold out hope that it’s third time lucky for our precious little girl.
“I honestly do not know how I would have got through the last few years without the strength and support of my amazing family, friends, the liver team at Leeds General Infirmary and Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.
“So, although running the London Marathon is a huge challenge, it’s nothing compared to the battles Hannah has faced. I wanted to do something for CLDF. I’ve not run a marathon before, but I’ve not had this kind of motivation before – there is no other charity I would rather support.
“Training has been tough but it’s going well. I have had so much support from my wonderful family and friends and am overwhelmed at the donations that I have received so far. I’ve already smashed my £2,000 target and now just want to raise as much as I can. I’m really looking forward to the big day now. I know that 26.2 miles will be tough, but Hannah is my strength and inspiration. She has been through more in her two years than most of us endure in a whole life time. She will keep me going and I and cannot wait to cross that finish line!”
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’re so grateful Amanda has chosen to do this for us. With all she has had to cope with over the past two and a half years, it’s truly humbling to think that she has put in the huge time and effort needed to run the Marathon. We shall be there cheering her on and hope it is an amazing experience for her.”
You can support Amanda’s London Marathon challenge by going to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/amanda-wallace9.
For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.