Next weekend’s Great North Run is set to be a particularly special experience for one local family.
Keith Thomson, a 54-year-old machine operator, and his 17-year-old son, Stuart, a pupil at Forfar Academy, will be doing the run together for the first time - something the family once doubted would be possible.
When Stuart was just nine he was diagnosed with the rare liver condition, sclerosing cholangitis. His family was put in touch with CLDF who were able to provide information about the condition and emotional support for Stuart and his family.
Since then Stuart has continued to go from strength to strength, refusing to let his illness stand in his way. He is now a prefect at Forfar Academy and his dream is to become a doctor.
Keith first ran the Great North Run for CLDF in 2007. The same year, Stuart took part in the Junior Great North Run and they both decided that when Stuart was 17 and well enough they would do the Great North Run together to raise as much as they could for CLDF.
“It’s a dream come true for Keith to run the race with Stuart by his side,” explained his wife, Fiona. “And they are delighted to be doing so for CLDF.
“The Foundation became so important in our lives after Stuart was diagnosed and there was nobody for us to talk to. Our local hospital had no other patients with sclerosing cholangitis and knew very little about it. It was CLDF who not only provided us with information about Stuart’s condition but showed us a light at the end of the dark tunnel we were in.
“Through them we have made many friends with whom we can share our experiences and still they are there at the end of a phone for us – nothing is ever a problem.”
Catherine Arkley, CLDF chief executive, added: “We are the UK’s leading charity dedicated to fighting all forms of liver disease in children. We do this by providing information to families and health professionals, supporting families like the Thomsons, helping to fund vital research and acting as a voice for all those affected by childhood liver disease. We rely on community fund-raising for 75 per cent of our income so are delighted that Keith and Stuart have chosen to do this for us. We hope they thoroughly enjoy the experience.”
To support Keith and Stuart’s Great North Run visit www.justgiving.com/stuart-keiththomson.