Up until his fourth birthday our son James was a happy, energetic boy.
He had a smile that would light up any room.
Whilst we were away celebrating his birthday he started to feel pain in his legs.
We were at CentreParcs, so assumed with the activities we were taking part in he had just pulled a muscle.
How wrong we were.
A couple of weeks passed and the pain didn’t go away, and he was unable to walk.
He kept getting ill too, and was falling asleep at preschool.
Our happy, energetic boy had gone.
We saw a number of doctors and nurses at our local practice, out of hours service, walk in, and hospital.
But none of them put the symptoms together and thought it could be anything sinister.
After weeks of worry, we ended up at Alder Hey.
A quick blood test and we were told it could be one of two things.
He either had a septic hip, or it was Leukaemia.
A scan of the hip showed nothing untoward, so he was sent for a bone marrow test, and our worst fears were confirmed.
James was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in April 2018.
He started chemotherapy straight away, and 6 weeks later we were told the cancer had all but gone and he was in remission.
There’s a long road of treatment ahead (3 years 4 months in total) to make sure the cancer stays away, but we are comforted in the knowledge that the doctors believe he will make a full recovery.
The support we have received from everyone at Alder Hey has been absolutely first class.
They are fixing our boy, so we are forever in their debt.
And so, we feel compelled to help them, and will be taking part in a number of fundraising events to help them carry on with their good work.
July 2018 - Liverpool NightRider.
My friend Dean and I completed a 100km cycle around the streets of Liverpool.
July 2018 - RideLondon
My Aunty Liz completed a 100 mile cycle between London and Surrey.
July 2018 - Double Yorkshire Tough Mudder
My friend Kevin and I completed two laps of the 10 mile Yorkshire course.
September 2018 - North West Tough Mudder
I completed the North West Half mud run with my mum Kim Read and sister Karen Ford.
September 2018 - Shaved My Head
When James lost his hair my friend Kev challenged me to shave mine off in support. I jokingly told him he needed to raise £1,000 for Alder Hey first, thinking he wouldn't do it. I was wrong!
September 2018 - Swim Serpentine
My Aunty Liz took part in the Swim Serpentine event in Hyde Park, London.
My wife Vicky and her dance school Centre Stage School of Dance performed a tribute to Alder Hey at their end of year dance show, also raising money via raffle ticket and programme sales.
May 2019 - Europe’s Toughest Mudder
My friend Kevin and I will be taking part in Europe’s Toughest Mudder. This is 8 hours of mud in the middle of the night.
2020 - IRONMAN HALF
A triathlon which includes a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle, and 13 mile run.
2021 - IRONMAN FULL
This will be the finale. Another triathlon which includes an eye-watering 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle, and 26 mile run.
More events will be announced as soon as they are booked.
PLEASE donate whatever you can afford.
If you’d like to take part or help fundraise at one of our challenges, or would like to suggest other ideas, please contact me on mark @ walkerford.co.uk.