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Meet TOFS London Marathon Runners

We are happy to announce our Team TOFS runners for the 2022 TCS London Marathon.

Running to support TOFS are:

  • Alex Lowe
  • Richard Guest
  • Justin Merritt
  • Andrew Muzika
  • Ashley Gates
  • Amy Gates
  • Ross Jeavons
  • Richard Breakwell
  • Laura Moore
  • Lyndsey Saunders

Scroll down to read their stories on why supporting TOFS is important to them.

If you would like more information on how you can support TOFS please click here.

Meet our runners

Alex Lowe

I am really excited to be given the opportunity to run the London Marathon for TOFS, not only so that I can raise as much money as possible but also so that I can help to raise the profile and understanding of this incredible charity.

My partner’s son was born with TOFS in 2009 and was under the care of the Trevor Mann baby unit in Brighton. Having a very close relationship with Joseph, I now have a greater understanding of OA/TOF: the implications, complications and consideration that this has on him, his friends and family on an everyday basis – this can not be underestimated.

I am an Assistant Headteacher of a local Secondary School and before lockdown, the 5km Parkrun was about the furthest distance I would run. I built up to my first 10km race in September 2021 and since then, I have run several half marathons, a sprint Aquathlon, and completed my first full marathon in Brighton. 

All of my friends, family and colleagues have been very surprised by my journey and am looking forward to having the chance to take part in this prestigious event.

Richard Guest

I’m running the London Marathon 2022 to raise funds for and awareness of the charity TOFS, which is very close to my heart.

My son Tommy was born in 2015 with short gap OA/TOF, was repaired at day 1 and spent his first few weeks in NICU.

In his first year, he had numerous stretches and bouts of bronchiolitis, but 6 ½ years on he is an unstoppable boy who loves football and bike riding. We are fortunate that he has been very healthy for the last few years, but we will always be grateful for the information and support TOFs gave us in those early days.

I am thrilled to be able to run the London Marathon this year and raise awareness and funds for TOFs.

Justin Merritt

 Hi, I’m Justin and I’m a 44-year-old first timer to the London Marathon – but more importantly uncle to Arielle.

It was only when Arielle was less than a day old, and we heard she was being rushed into the operating theatre, that we learned what OA/TOF was.

The steep learning curve to get up to speed on the diagnosis was quite a shock to the system – though nothing compared to the anguish my sister, her husband and baby Arielle were under throughout those first weeks when emergency surgery took place instead of the usual family meet ups and swooning over the latest arrival.
Arielle was born in November 2021 and continues to have procedures and experience pain because of OA/TOF, but is also a giggly, adorable little girl.

Arielle and her parents have had to experience worry and fears that most parents never, thankfully, have to face. As a Dad of my own two children I know how hard things with small babies can be but OA/TOF takes it to another level.

So, in lieu of the most basic ‘cheeky uncle’ support that I am not yet able to give my delicate niece (and her worried parents), I’m running the London Marathon in 2022 to show my love and encouragement, and perhaps to channel some of my own worries.

Wish me luck!

Andrew Muzika

My name is Andrew Muzika. TOFS is in its 40th year and my family were not really aware of it when I was growing up as it was in its infancy becoming a registered charity in 1987. The charity is close to me as I was born with the OA/TOF condition amongst a few other things when born six weeks early with my twin brother, I weighed only just over 2lbs (1kg!).

This is not my first marathon, but it will be my first since I had a very serious grade 4 stress fracture back in October 2019. Saying it has been a slow and steady recovery is an understatement. It was 13 months until I could start any form of jogging. I started with a 1 minute jog and 1 minute walk and gradually built up the strength to complete a 5km, 10km and then a half marathon distance.

I have wanted to get back into running and what better motivation than to take part in the London Marathon to raise money and support TOFS, a charity close to my heart.

Ashley and Amy Gates

We have been lucky enough to receive late places to run the London Marathon 2022 together! We are thrilled to be able to take on the opportunity (and challenge!) to raise money for TOFS.

TOFS is a charity so close to our hearts after our daughter Effy was born with undiagnosed TOF/OA and had surgery on day 3 of her life after travelling by ambulance from Cornwall to Bristol NICU to confirm her suspected diagnosis.

TOFS offers us so much support, we would be lost without their endless knowledge and we are excited to give back what we can.

Our Effy turns 1 in September 2022 and we think this is the perfect event to do together to mark the year we have had to come together more than ever to support our growing little girly.

Forever grateful for any support or donation we receive towards this amazing charity.

Thank you, Amy, Ash & Effy

Ross Jeavons

On 27th February 2022 we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into our lives. We loved Corey Grayson Jeavons from the moment we laid eyes on him.

Unfortunately, Corey’s life is not straight forward. He was born with TOF/long gap OA and two mammoth surgeries were unable to resolve the issue in the first weeks after his birth, meaning that our baby boy had to put up with an ‘oesophagostomy’ – a hole in the neck where his secretions and saliva went as he swallowed. He also had a gastrostomy inserted in a third surgery to allow him to come home to be tube fed.

As part of his wider issues, Corey also has a right-side aortic arch – making his surgeries more difficult, as well as a single horseshoe kidney and high blood pressure.

Shortly after marathon training began, ‘Cor Cor’ had Gastric Pull Up surgery to bring his stomach to his chest and connect it to the neck. He remains in ICU at John Radcliffe hospital and at the time of writing, we have no idea how things will turn out. The days are long and torturous.

I’m running the marathon for my boy and all families with OA/TOF children. I dearly hope that all money raised can go someway to supporting all those affected by such a rare and challenging condition.

Lyndsey Saunders

I was inspired to run London Marathon on behalf of TOFS after hearing the courageous battle that Llewyn has endured since he was born in 2020.

Llewyn’s dad Rhys is my son Dexter’s football coach. A hugely inspirational and caring man that has shared his knowledge of football with my son and his team.

Despite the upheaval in life and not knowing what comes next for Llewyn, Rhys continues to be the most professional and accommodating man that you could hope for to be a huge part of your child’s life.

Through Rhys I got to meet his wife, Rhiannon. Rhiannon is just as much of an inspiration as Rhys. Rhiannon started her own business growing and selling the most beautiful blooms. Not to mention the amazing fundraising and awareness she spreads of TOFS. Let’s not forget Ayrton, Llewyn’s older brother who has endured this too. A bright, charming young man who is thriving at school. The Sullivan’s are the epitome of no matter what life throws at you life is for grasping and making the most of it.

They couldn’t have done this without the care and support of TOFs. Up until earlier this year I didn’t know this charity existed. I hope to raise a little money but above else hope to spread awareness that this condition does exist and that there is support.

Please check back soon for more stories from our TOFS runners.

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