Jacob (Bobby as he’s affectionately known) is my nephew and superhero. Some of you will have met him and most of you will have heard me talk about him and the ordeal that he has gone through in the first 4 years of his life. Because of him I am taking on a challenge that befits the strength and courage of a true superhero and will be running the London Marathon in 2020 to support TOFS, the charity that has provided an emotional lifeline to my sister and her family.
When a child is born it turns a parent’s world upside down but on the 30th October 2015 just before my sister went into labour none of us could have predicted that, within 24 hours, the moment we had been waiting for with excitement would turn into an emotional roller coaster and a period of fear and uncertainty.
Shortly after his birth when nurses realised that Jacob was unable to feed he was whisked away from his Mum and within hours was travelling in an ambulance from Stevenage to the Royal London Hospital where, at less than 24 hours old, he was operated on after being diagnosed with Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) and Oesophageal Atresia (OA). This is a rare congenital condition of the food pipe and/or airway that affects one in every 3,500 babies.
At 4 years old Jacob has been through more surgical intervention already in his life that many people will experience in a lifetime and despite that he makes me so proud that he deals with it all with a strength and positivity that is far beyond his years as well as with a smile on his little face (I’m sure my sister might challenge that statement).
As a member of the TOFS charity my sister has made friends for life with people who understand what she has been through. She is able to share experiences and seek advice and support from a wide network of parents who help each other through what is a tough condition to understand let alone live with. I hope by completing this challenge and with your sponsorship this valuable charity will continue.