Touching Lives - April 2014
Running for a reason
James and Jenny Halse were devastated when their son Elijah died at just 37 days old. Their close-knit community rallied round to support them, culminating in more than 50 people pulling on their trainers and joining them to run and raise vital funds for Action.
Baby Elijah was born prematurely at just 25 weeks, weighing just 823g. Despite such an early arrival, his initial prognosis had been good until he became seriously ill with necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), a devastating bowel condition that primarily affects premature babies. It can strike without warning and attacks the gut with vicious speed.
His heartbroken parents decided to channel some of their emotion and grief into running and signed up to take part in their local Percy Pud 10K in Sheffield to raise money for Action in Elijah’s memory.
Action, supported by The Henry Smith Charity and Oakdale Trust, is currently funding research to develop a new test to help identify babies with NEC, so they can receive treatment sooner. The researchers hope this test will lead to swifter diagnosis and reduce the chances of the disease becoming life threatening.
Running as ‘Team Lightning’, the nickname given to Elijah by one of his brothers because he arrived so quickly, James and Jenny were joined by family, friends and neighbours. Many of them had little or no previous running experience but wanted to show they cared. Together they have raised more than £11,500 – a truly fantastic amount.
Jenny says: “That so many volunteered to run with us is overwhelming. While some had run before, many were novices and faced their fears to take on this challenge in Elijah’s memory. We know his short and turbulent life will not be forgotten. The ripples from Elijah’s life are far-reaching, raising money for a great cause and uniting a community.
“While we all wish we’d had a different reason to get fitter, we were pleased to be able to do something positive. We hope to raise enough money to make a difference to research tackling infant prematurity. If we make a small difference in the research, it’ll be another way to remember our beautiful baby boy.”
We have places in some of the world’s greatest and best-known events, including the BUPA London 10,000 (May), BUPA Great North Run (Sept) and the 2015 Virgin London Marathon. If you’ve been inspired to get your running shoes on, then find out more about Action running events.