Nick Hayday – a friend of mine of twenty years’ standing – and his wife Katie had a little baby boy called Joshua, born on 18 September 2008 after an uncomplicated and uneventful pregnancy. It quickly became apparent after the birth that all was not as well as might have been hoped. Soon after the birth Joshua was diagnosed with, first, polymicrogyria – additional folds in the brain which lead to physical and learning disabilities and seizures; and subsequently peroxisomal disorder. This diagnosis hugely reduced Joshua’s life expectancy; and Nick and Katie concentrated on making his life as comfortable as it could be.
Joshua required 24-hour care and observation, which was emotionally and physically exhausting for Nick and Katie. I remember speaking to Nick at the time, and he was regularly working 10-14 hour days in his job as a city lawyer, followed by six hour shifts at home to try to help Katie who had the main burden of care. He remained incredibly stoic and good-humoured throughout.
Nick and Katie decided to set up the Joshua Hayday Helping Hand Trust, to raise money in order to help parents in their situation. The trust focuses on three main fundraising goals: respite care; transport; and equipment not provided by the NHS. So far the trust has raised many thousands of pounds. I want to help, in a small way, by raising several hundred pounds by plodding around the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon on 10 October 2010.
At the very beginning of August of last year, Joshua developed an infection; and he died of pneumonia on 4 August. Nick and Katie set up the JHHHT at the end of 2009 and have worked tirelessly ever since. I’d be very grateful if you would support me, and the JHHHT, when I run on 10 October. Please do not think that there is a choice between on the one hand making a large donation, and on the other, no donation at all – rather, just a few pounds will really help, and will spur me on.