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‘They are my inspiration’ – why Stephen is taking on the London Marathon

A dad of two from Milngavie, Glasgow, will be travelling down to London next week to take part in his first marathon. Forty year old Stephen Gaw admits that taking on the iconic London Marathon is way outside his comfort zone but he is determined to raise as much as he can for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF), a charity which means a lot to his family.


“I knew nothing about CLDF or indeed liver disease in children until 2013 when my baby daughter, Lily, was diagnosed with portal hypertension and oesophageal varices,” explains Stephen, who is Finance Director for wine and spirits wholesaler, Inverarity Morton.


“This ultimately led to her having a liver transplant in May 2014 when she was only 14 months old when her mum – my wife Lianne – donated part of her liver.  Shortly after her transplant, Lily developed post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) which resulted in a fairly long stay in Leeds General Infirmary, one of the UK’s specialist centres for treating paediatric liver patients. Throughout this difficult time, CLDF provided support in various forms, be this leaflets explaining various complicated issues in simplistic easy to understand terms, or even just having someone visit the ward for a comforting chat.


“I’m happy to say that Lily is now a happy 10 year old who loves dancing, gymnastics, playing with her pet rabbit and being a big sister to her six year old brother, Luca. However, we have never forgotten the invaluable support which CLDF provided in those tough times and in the years since Lily’s transplant. I wanted to give something back which is why I joined the charity as a trustee.


“The thought of taking on the London Marathon, was initially very daunting. Until now, the longest run I had ever done was the Glasgow Half-Marathon, and I remember  crossing the finishing line after 13 miles thinking that it is unimaginable to run the same distance again. However, I only have to think about the weeks we spent in hospital as both Lily and Lianne underwent major surgery in order for Lily’s life to be saved. Lily never stopped smiling despite the numerous setbacks she encountered. She and her mum are absolute inspirations to me and by taking on a challenge of my own, I can do something meaningful both for Lily and for all the other children like her.


“Another motivating factor is the fact that my brother and sister have both run marathons, and as I’m naturally competitive, I couldn’t be left behind! That said, I have found the training regime pretty brutal. Running outside four times a week throughout the winter in the West of Scotland should not be under-estimated! However, as each week has been ticked off, and the confidence of running for a lengthy period of time increases, I am almost at the point of looking forward to it. As long as I can stand on the start line on the day, knowing that I have trained exactly how I should have, then that’s all I can do. I would love to say I will enjoy every minute of the actual race but we’ll wait and see about that!”


Rebecca Cooper, 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 that Stephen is taking on the London Marathon for us. We know just what a huge commitment it is in terms of training and fundraising. He’s already smashed his £2,000 fundraising target which is brilliant so we hope he thoroughly enjoys the occasion and wish him all the best.”


You can support Stephen’s London Marathon challenge by  going to Children’s Liver Disease Foundation: Stephen Gaw (


For more information on CLDF visit

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