Introducing our 2020 Virtual London Marathon runners

Published: Thu, 10th September 2020, 12:49:00 PM

A huge thank you from TOFS to those who took part in the Virtual London Marathon, we hope you feel very proud of yourselves. We look forward to announcing how much has been raised in due course.

We are delighted to announce that the following people will be running the Virtual London Marathon in support of TOFS.

  • Darren Webborn
  • Ann Weeks. You can support Ann here
  • Richard Lawrence. You can support Richard here
  • Alexandra Dickinson-Lomas. You can support Alexandra here
  • Andrew Tucknott. You can support Andrew here
  • Mitch Evans. You can support Mitch here
  • Laura Morton. You can support Laura here

More stories to follow.

Laura Morton

I have been given the privilege of a place in the London Marathon virtual event, raising money for the TOFs charity.  On Sunday 4th October I will be running 26.2 miles with the support of the London marathon app to record and track my progress.

TOFS is short for Tracheo-Oesophageal-Fistula it is a condition where babies are born with their oesophagus not connected to their stomach, they require an operation as soon as they are born to repair and join the oesophagus.  Most children are repaired but never cured, so it’s a lifelong condition.

My son Harry was born with TOF and me and my partner had never heard of this condition before.  Luckily, there was information from the TOFS charity that educated and supported us through difficult times.  The condition is a lifelong problem which can lead to different obstacles throughout their lives.

Due to Covid-19 all charities are struggling so any donations will be very much appreciated.  

Alexandra Dickinson-Lomas

I am so thrilled to be taking on the challenge of doing a marathon for TOFS this year. I was born with OA/TOF and had a TOF repair and aortopexy as a baby. Since then I've had various procedures and a Nissens Fundoplication to treat reflux. I have found the information provided by TOFS, the conferences and supportive community so valuable, especially more recently as I am encountering some of the common troubles adults born with OA/TOF face; more reflux, dysphagia and such. Despite this, my life continues on at full steam! After completing my MSc and a brief stint working as a mechanical engineer, I have recently started a PhD and continue to spend a lot of my time climbing up things, camping and generally enjoying the outdoors. As such I hope to walk and swim the 26.2 miles in the beautiful lake district. This will likely induce significant exhaustion and suffering but it will be wonderful doing something I love for a cause I really care about. 



Ann Weeks

What can I say, I am running the London marathon, my biggest challenge yet! I have previously taken part in Bath half marathons for TOFS and other charities. I have also taken part in the race for life. I enjoy running and train on a regular basis. My wish was to run the London Marathon in my 40th year. I am doing this in memory of my son John, he is my inspiration and the reason I first started running.

When I was pregnant, they could not see a stomach on the scan, that’s when we knew something was wrong. We knew he was going to be born with TOF. Shortly after birth, John was whisked away to the intensive care unit. He was born with his windpipe attached to his oesophagus and not his stomach. He had an operation to fix this and was given a P.E.G, so he was fed straight through to his stomach. When a baby is born with the TOF condition there can be many other complications. John had a laryngeal cleft, therefore had to have another operation to fix this when he was only a month old. He was given a tracheostomy, so that he could breathe. John also had a narrow artery to his heart, so therefore had to go through another operation.

After 5 months of being in hospital, he was finally allowed home, however he had to come home with a lot of medical equipment. We still had regular visits to the hospital due to John having further complications: - breathing, bleeding from sites, the list goes on. Due to John’s very low immune system, he did not even get away with chicken pox and pneumonia. Finally, around 14/15 months John was allowed to start eating a little by mouth, having a little bit of yoghurt. Doctors were so pleased with how he was getting on and we were told that he was going to have his tracheostomy removed at 18 months old. Unfortunately, this was not to be, because John sadly passed away at 15mths. His secretions which were sucked out through his tracheostomy were too low and exploded his lungs.  This was a big shock to us, after everything he’d been through and with only 3 months to go before his tracheostomy was going to be removed, this really was unexpected.

Throughout his short life, he sure was a very happy boy, always smiling, never let anything upset him. John is our inspiration.

I really do not want any baby or child to have to go through what my son did. TOFS is an amazing charity, who help to support parents and families going through the same or similar situations. With more research hopefully one day there will be an end to babies born with the TOF condition.

Darren Webborn

I’m 40 years old and married to Naomi and father of three amazing kids George 9yrs, Emily 3yrs & Benjamin 8mths.

I’m supporting TOFS by taking part in the Virtual London Marathon as a thank you for all the support and advice Naomi and myself have received after George was diagnosed after Birth, The advice and help has been massive for us.

My inspirational, not so little, George makes us proud everyday with the way he has learnt to deal with his day to day life, not allowing anything to set him back, and again as a promise to George we wanted to say thank you in our own way, albeit me having to do all the running!!!!


Richard Lawrence

I have wanted to do some fundraising for the TOFS charity for some time.  My daughter was born with a short gap TOF, which was repaired at Bristol Children’s hospital at 2 days old, and after a stay in hospital for about 2 weeks Ellie-Mae came home.  Ellie-Mae has struggled with eating and needs help regularly. On several occasions, food has got stuck and she has needed paramedics, ambulances to A&E and operations to get the food removed. She also struggles with chest infections and croup and has ongoing anxiety issues which can make things very difficult for her in a day to day basis.

The TOFS charity and the online community has been amazing for us over the past few years, giving us lots of support and useful information.

I have been running for fitness and in many local events for other local charities over the last couple of years. I have always wanted to complete the London marathon myself as a personal challenge, as both my mum and dad have completed it in the past. I am really looking forward to running the first ever Virtual London Marathon and I would be very proud to run it for such a worthy cause.


Andrew Tucknott

Hello. My name is Andrew Tucknott and I live in Hove. My main two hobbies are running and HIIT training with some yoga, swimming and cycling thrown in when I have time. I work for a general road haulage company called Tomsetts Distribution Ltd in Sussex and most of my time is spent at a desk or in the car, so any activity is most welcome! I am running the Virtual Virgin London Marathon on behalf of TOFS because we are close family friends of TOFS girl Ruby Oelmann, who celebrated her 5th birthday this month and is doing fantastically well thanks to the work TOFS do. With all the event cancelations this year TOFS have suffered a significant drop in income and they receive no government financial support whatsoever so there is no better time to do what you can so they can continue to offer their game-changing support to TOFS families. Here is a photo of Ruby (right) with our daughter Everly:

Mitch Evans

Hi my name is Mitch Evans, I’m delighted to be running for TOFS in the Virtual London marathon. 
My daughter Megan was born with TOF plus a condition called Oesophageal Atresia (OA). Megan had surgery at 3 days old to repair the TOF/OA but later developed severe acid reflux which caused a narrowing at the bottom part of her oesophagus, making her occasionally choke while feeding. Unfortunately, this took a while to be diagnosed, then during a procedure to `stretch` her oesophagus it ruptured. She became very unwell and was back in theatre all night, her oesophagus was so badly damaged they had to remove it completely. Megan spent 3 weeks in ITU but is a real fighter and pulled through. She was tube fed through her stomach with an oesophagostomy (out through her neck) and made a remarkable recovery. At 18 months more major surgery, bringing her stomach up to meet the remains of her oesophagus. This was successful and was her last major surgery. She has still had her challenges but has grown up into a beautiful young woman and leads a full and active life, which is all a parent can ask. 
We have been members of TOFS for many years, they have always been a great source of information & support to us.  
TOFS receive no government funding and during the COVID pandemic, like all charities, they have struggled for funds so any donations you can give would be fantastic, thank you so much. 
In photo, from left to right, Mitch, Megan, Jan (Mum) (in Porthcawl Parkrun)

© 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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