Friend running to raise money for family of little boy in desperate need of a new heart

A local woman will be running this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon to raise funds for The Sick Children’s Trust on behalf of her friends’ son who has been desperately waiting for a lifesaving heart transplant for ten months.

Emma Ford, 43, a Zumba teacher from Stoke-on-Trent, is training hard to complete the gruelling race to raise £1,000 for The Sick Children’s Trust. The charity, which runs free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation across the country, has been supporting her close friends, Tracy and Adrian Bloor, at its Guilford Street House in London whilst their five year old son, Alexander, waits in hospital for a lifesaving donor heart to become available.

At just eight weeks old, Alexander was diagnosed with a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy – in which the left ventricle of the heart is enlarged and unable to efficiently pump blood around the body. A regular check-up in June 2016 showed that his condition was worsening and sadly, just under a year later, his devastated parents were told that their son’s only chance of survival would be a heart transplant.

Alexander was transferred from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) last year where he was fitted with a mechanical heart pump, known as the Berlin Heart, to keep him alive. Unable to leave the hospital and over three hours from the family’s home in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Alexander continues to undergo treatment at GOSH and will do so until a donor heart is found. Emma, who along with her husband Rich, has known the Bloor family for years, says:

“The Sick Children’s Trust has been supporting Tracy, Adrian and their daughter Sophia for many months during this traumatic time. The charity’s ‘Home from Home’ is so close by, which means they never have to worry about being separated from their son and are just a couple of minutes away from him.

“I really want to fundraise for the charity that is helping our close friends at this time and as mother to two young sons myself, Thomas and Samuel, I couldn’t imagine being separated from them if either were seriously ill in hospital.

“Although I have run half marathons before, this year will be my toughest challenge because I want to do Alexander proud and run my first full marathon. I am aiming to complete the course in four and a half hours, but the enormity of the challenge ahead is just beginning to hit me. However, thinking of the Bloor family, hours away from home, but being provided with a free and comfortable place to stay during such a traumatic time, is good inspiration for me to embrace the race ahead!”

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