Zak Durrani, who currently lives in Ingleby Barwick, will be fulfilling a long held ambition when he takes part in the Great North Run next weekend (September 9) in a bid to raise funds for two charities very close to his heart – Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) and Target Ovarian Cancer.
Zak was born with the rare liver disease, biliary atresia and received a life-saving transplant when he was just eight years old. Zak’s family had received information and support from CLDF over the years and he always planned to give something back. When, last June, his mum lost her battle with ovarian cancer, Zak knew he wanted to contribute to charity in the way she had done all her life.
“From the day I was born, my mum knew there was something not right with my health and she kept persisting, along with my dad, to get a diagnosis, which eventually confirmed that I had biliary atresia and would one day need a liver transplant,” explains Zak, a 24 year old web developer.
“CLDF were there with support for my parents after receiving what must have been a shattering diagnosis. The support I received while I waited for a transplant helped me and my family to have hope, and I know other families will feel exactly the same.”
“My entire childhood consisted of having to take a wide range of medicines and tablets around the clock. I would be regularly encouraged to eat healthy foods to boost my immune system. Of course, at the time, I couldn’t fully appreciate or understand the tireless commitment it must have taken from my parents to keep me alive and well. Looking back, I know it is because of their love and determination, alongside the continued support from the amazing staff at Kings College Hospital in London, that I am here today.
“Obviously, Target Ovarian Cancer is now a cause which is so important to me which is why for all of the donations I receive on my sponsorship page for CLDF up until the day of the run, I will personally match and donate to Target Ovarian Cancer. I’m really looking forward to the day knowing that I will be doing something for other young people who have been in my situation. I’ve been training hard – I’m lucky to have friends who have supported me and helped me to get prepared. The biggest challenge is definitely sticking to a healthy diet and cutting out the takeaways!”
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 are delighted to hear that Zak has chosen to do the Great North Run for us. What a wonderful tribute to his mother and a fantastic way of supporting other young people with liver disease. We wish him all the best for the day and hope he thoroughly enjoys the experience.”
You can support Zak’s Great North Run challenge by going to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/zak-durrani.
For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.