Virtual Great North Run helps dad raise hundreds for charity in daughter's honour
Andrew Toward, 33, completed The Virtual Great North Run to raise money for the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) – and lost more than four stone while training for the event.
The self-confessed “biggish lad” wanted to help children with liver disease after his daughter Amelia had such severe jaundice that she was transferred to the special care unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Andrew said: “We knew she would be OK in the end, but it was still a massive ordeal for me and my wife, Kayleigh, to be in hospital for a week after her birth.
“Essentially, if it was a struggle for us to go through that, it made me think how difficult it must be for parents of families with real life-threatening conditions, particularly when the jaundice is a sign of liver disease.
“So, combining my desire to change my lifestyle with the desire to do something for those in need, I contacted CLDF the day after last year’s Great North Run and asked if I could run this year’s event for them.
“It is without doubt one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
After 2020’s Great North Run was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Andrew signed up for the virtual run as he was well on with his training preparation, and had already shed four stone in the process.
He continued: “I will be forever grateful for the support of CLDF. Without it, I would remain 22-plus stone, probably depressed, unfit and anxious.
“I'm a different person to the one who took on this challenge. I'm positive, motivated and committed to the change I've made.”
Alison Taylor, Chief Executive of Children’s Liver Disease Foundation added: “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, and now more than ever, those donations really do count.
"We are thrilled that Andrew was inspired to support us in this way and so pleased that he has gained so much out it.”