A proud dad and grandad are busy training for their first half marathon in a bid to raise £1800 for a charity which means a great deal to them – Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).
Tom Penning and Ian Haydon have been inspired to take on the Cambridge Half Marathon (March 8) by Tom’s son and Ian’s grandson, Hudson. Eight month-old Hudson has the rare condition, Alagille Syndrome, which affects his heart, kidneys, liver, eyes and spine. Whilst his heart and kidneys are currently functioning well, his liver is not, and Tom and his wife Chelsea, who live in Saffron Walden are not yet certain whether he will require a liver transplant. Having received information and support from CLDF since Hudson’s diagnosis, his family are keen to give something back. Tom explains why the charity’s support matters:
“For us it’s about knowing someone is there for you, especially in your darkest hours. Having a child with a critical illness can be isolating from friends and family but knowing there are professionals and other families out there that know exactly what you are going through is invaluable.”
Ian, who lives in Felsted, agrees: “Knowing that there is support for our daughter, son-in-law and grandson means so much to me and my wife Sengar. We try to support them in every way we can but knowing there are people out there that can truly understand what they are going through as a family, brings comfort to all of us.”
The pair chose the Cambridge Half Marathon as their fundraiser as it looked so appealing. “We cannot wait to run through all the colleges and out to Grantchester. It should make for a very memorable run,” said Ian. “By taking part, we also hope to raise awareness. We hope that anyone reading our story, sponsoring us or simply cheering on runners on the day can learn just one thing about childhood liver disease and the impact this has. And of course, our greatest hope is that one day there will be a cure!”
As Tom and Ian are both plumbing and heating engineers and consequently very busy at this time of year, finding time to train has not been easy but they are both up for the challenge.
“I’ve been out training with my dogs who would both get a better running time than me!” said Tom. “If we can complete it in under three hours that will be great, but the main thing is to finish and raise as much as we can.”
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 on voluntary donations, so we are delighted to hear that Tom and Ian are doing the Cambridge Half Marathon for us. We hope they thoroughly enjoy their first half marathon and wish them all the best for the day.”
You can support Tom and Ian by going to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runningforhudson