Tony Crofts

Published: Sun, 18th March 2018, 08:50:00 AM
Great North Run 2017
We are delighted to introduce to you our five brave runners in this year's iconic Great North Run in Newcastle upon Tyne. Thanks to all of them for sharing their stories with us. We hope training is going well for all of you!  
Rebecca with Jack as a baby
REBECCA CROSSLEY Jack was our first baby, an IVF baby, and although there is no evidence to say this is linked in anyway, I always wonder if this may have had some possible impact. I had a relatively easy pregnancy, but being an older mum I had a few more checks along the way. They then picked up that I had Polyhydramnios (this according to research shows that it can be linked to a child being born with the condition Jack has, although this was never explained to us at the time and never picked up on a scan). In some cases, Tof is picked up at scans so at least you can be aware. This in hindsight was probably for the best for us, as I’d have worried endlessly until I gave birth. After complaining of getting itchy hands and feet at one routine visit, I was whipped into hospital and was induced. This was because of a condition called cholestasis. (This can cause stillbirths, so it was all panic stations). In the end after several hours/days of labour, he came out after an emergency c-section. Jack didn’t feed well initially so they took him away to be fed for me and give me a break, which I thought was great. But hours later they came back to explain he was being sent for an x-ray and then had to be transferred to Norfolk & Norwich hospital for a repair. Jack and I stayed there for just a little over 3 weeks or so. I had no idea what his condition was, and the hospital were amazing, and explained as well as they could, but the charity, has really helped us get our heads around what this condition is all about. Jack was diagnosed with Tracheo oesophageal fistula o/a (short gap).  He had a very rocky start to life but we have been lucky compared to some who have this condition. Jack is 4 years old and is doing well now, but is still very limited with his food in take. Obviously, Jack’s oesophagus has been repaired but never works the same as a child born without this condition. We were told it won’t contract properly, it will be narrow, and there will be thick scar tissue, so after all this, imagine having to learn to eat. He struggles with some foods but has a good range of different textures, and the specialists are pleased with his progress.  Jack’s school have been supportive and are aware that he can have a high risk of choking and food getting stuck in the oesophagus, and that there is no way of stopping this from happening, but have been fully briefed on how to tackle these episodes. I wanted to try and support Tofs that little bit more, by attempting to do the Great North Run, for a charity that have given us support, especially in the early days and bring more awareness to this rare congenital condition.   
The Davies family
MIKE DAVIES Our beautiful daughter Nahla was born in July 2016 with a TOF/OA. We went home unaware of any issues, however we were back in hospital 24 hours later thanks to our midwife due to her excessive weight loss. Her reluctance to feed in Bath led us being referred to St Michael’s hospital in Bristol where her diagnosis was confirmed. She was successfully operated on the next day and 12 days later was allowed to come home again. Now 11 months on and 6 stretches later, Nahla is doing fantastically well progressing nicely on to feeding herself and more textured food. She has a particular fondness for Wotsits and Rusks!! Now we are learning how to work through her condition. The information and advice we’ve received from TOFS and other families experiences has been a great help. I’m so proud to be running for TOFS and raising money for them, so they can continue their amazing support all brave TOF families.  
Pierre and his daughter Margot, Father's Day, 2017
PIERRE MAITRE Our daughter Margot was born with TOF/OA long gap on June 2nd and will remain in neonatal care until she has grown big enough to operate in a few months' time. We were first introduced to TOFS by our medical team during my wife's pregnancy which we have found extremely useful in educating and preparing ourselves for the arrival of our precious little girl. I wanted to challenge myself with something I had never done before and what better thing to do than honour my daughter and her condition with raising money doing the Great North Run.  
The Watt family: Kenny, Nikki, Evie and Alice
KENNY WATT My wife Nikki and I took up running a couple of years before Evie was born and had done the Great North Run a couple of times. When Evie was born our lives turned upside down. We had the joy of a new baby and the stress and fear of having a child with TOF. These circumstances meant that finding the time to run became harder. During the first weeks and months of Evie's birth we found the advice and support from the TOFs community invaluable. Basically we went from feeling totally alone to feeling reassured and we have TOFs and the TOFs community to thank for that. Fast forward three years, Evie is fit and healthy and seems to get off lightly compared to other TOFs - only three or four overnight hospital stays in the last year - and she is loving being a big sister to Her three month old sister Alice. However, I have put on about three stone and haven't run for almost a year. Nikki wants to get back into running after having Alice. What better way to do it than set a tough challenge and raise money for the charity who helped us through the early days and still support us?  Both Nikki and I are raising money for TOFs. Nikki was lucky enough to get a place in the ballot and TOFs were good enough to let me have a charity place. Now the pain really begins....    
PETER MOFFAT Peter's story will be coming soon.

© Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula Support
TOFS is a Registered Charity in England and Wales (327735) and a Private Company Limited By Guarantee without Share Capital, registered in England and Wales (2202260).
Registered address: TOFS, St. George’s Centre, 91 Victoria Road, Netherfield, Nottingham NG4 2NN.
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