On the day he was born, Jack Strange needed a life-saving five-hour operation so he could swallow and eat.
Now, to celebrate his recovery and to draw awareness to the cause, his father Darron is running the London Marathon later this month.
Jack was born in July 2002 at St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth, but was transferred to Southampton General Hospital for the operation to resolve the problems caused by his oesophagus being wrongly connected to his windpipe.
Whilst Jack experienced some complications growing up, the only clue now to the surgery is the 15-year-old’s small scar from the keyhole surgery.
Roughly one in 3,5000 babies will be affected by Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) or Oesophageal Atresia (OA) like Jack, but unlike him, many will not be fully recovered by 16.
To help raise awareness of this cause, Darron, 47, will be running the London Marathon on April 22.
Darron has run the Great South Run several times before, but says he is still ‘apprehensive’ about the challenge ahead.
His family have been just as supportive now as they were when Jack was born. Darron’s wife, Nicky, has been especially kind, having given up drinking in solidarity and appearing every few miles on his practice runs with snacks.
Darron, who works for PSP Logistics in Segensworth, was keen to emphasise that he was fundraising on behalf of all families who had experienced the condition.
‘It’s not about Jack, it’s about the charity,’ he said.
TOFS is dedicated to helping families with Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) and Oesophageal Atresia (OA) and to help research into the causes.
The charity offers support for families once they have left hospital as well as helping new parents to understand the causes.