Steven Grant from Tring will be one of the thousands taking to the streets of London for the Marathon this Sunday. The 43-year-old, who works in the City, is raising funds for a charity which means a lot to his family, Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).
‘My 14-year-old stepson, Joshua, was born with the rare liver disease, biliary atresia, a condition where the bile ducts haven’t formed properly, leading to a complete blockage of bile flow from the liver,’ explains Steven. ‘When he was just five weeks old, he underwent a five-hour operation called a Kasai where the surgeons created artificial bile ducts enabling the bile to flow. Although the surgery was a success, Joshua will always have liver disease and will one day likely need a liver transplant, but we hope this is many years away for him.
‘As well as biliary atresia, Joshua has portal hypertension and an enlarged spleen, all of which means annual medical checks at Birmingham Children’s Hospital so that his condition can be closely monitored. Despite all this, he is a very happy, sporty and outgoing young lad. His condition doesn’t hold him back and looking at him you would never know that he has anything wrong with him. He lives life to the full and his confidence and strength in life is what makes us so very proud of him.
‘I know that Children’s Liver Disease Foundation have been there for Joshua right from the start. My wife is hugely complimentary about the help and support she received from CLDF at the time of Joshua’s diagnosis and after his Kasai procedure and we want every parent in this situation to have that support available. We also want to help them fund further research into childhood liver disease. The cause of biliary atresia is still unknown but we live in hope that they will find a new treatment for biliary atresia and other types of liver disease and Joshua just might continue to be lucky and never have to have a transplant.
‘I also needed a big goal to get me off the sofa and outside doing some cardio – and the idea of running the marathon and raising funds for CLDF seemed a perfect match!’
Even though his training has been disrupted by a couple of injuries, Steven, who admits to saying ‘never again’ after his last marathon many years ago, is determined to finish.
‘I’ve hit my fundraising target now so, whatever my time, I will be crossing that line and doing all my supporters proud,’ he says.
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 so grateful that Steven is doing the London Marathon for us. It’s a huge commitment in terms of training and fundraising and we wish him all the very best for Sunday.’
You can support Steven’s London Marathon challenge by going to Children’s Liver Disease Foundation: Steve Grant (enthuse.com).
For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.
Steven’s time in Sunday’s Marathon was longer than he had hoped (he was aiming for 4 hours 20 and came in at 5 hours 27) but he was carrying a cold at the start of the race and tested positive for Covid the next day, which explains it!
Mairead Ritchie from Children’s Liver Disease Foundation said: ‘We think he did brilliantly to run a marathon when he must have been feeling under the weather. He has smashed his fundraising target of £2000 (currently £2945 with donations still coming in) and as a charity we are incredibly grateful for his efforts.’