Northampton boy with life-limiting illness inspires mum to run London Marathon

She is using this once in a lifetime chance to raise awareness for a children's hospice in Northamptonshire.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 11:32 am
Northampton mum Libby Harvey is running the London Marathon this year in honour of her young son Alexanda.
Northampton mum Libby Harvey is running the London Marathon this year in honour of her young son Alexanda.

A Northampton mum is taking on the London Marathon this year inspired by the determination of her young son's battle with a life-limiting illness.

Elizabeth 'Libby' Harvey, 41, from Thorplands, had only ever run a couple of miles before this year when she put her name in for for a ballot place to run the London Marathon in October.

She was inspired by her 13-year-old son Alexanda, who from birth has been living with several complex - and life-limiting - medical conditions.

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But now, Libby has won a place in this year's marathon, and with the help of her friend of 15 years Christine Martin is now training to take on the 26 miles in earnest.

She is using this once in a lifetime opportunity to raise awareness for a children's hospice in Northamptonshire while fundraising for Helen & Douglas House.

Libby said: “Since being referred to the Helen & Douglas Hospice, the difference it has made to our family is massive – there is someone to talk to 24 hours a day when I am worried about anything.

"When we are there I get to just be ‘Mummy’ and ‘Libby’ rather than constantly being on high alert. It really surprises me that there isn’t a similar residential facility in Northamptonshire.

"Just having a two-day proper break from the medical responsibilities is a huge weight off my shoulders and they are superb with Alexanda.”

Young Alexanda lives with a number of complex conditions and is often treated on Paddington Ward at Northampton General Hospital. They include Interstitial Lung Disease, Phenylketonuria (PKU - a rare inherited disorder that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body), Surfactant Protein Deficiency C, and epilepsy.

To give Libby some respite, she and Alexanda both benefit from short stays at Helen and Douglas House – a children’s hospice in Oxfordshire that helps families with children who have a life-limiting prognosis and children needing palliative care.

Alexanda said: “I love going to Helen and Douglas House as they help me feel like I haven’t got all these tubes so I can just be happy and enjoy time with Mummy."

To find out more about their progress, follow their Facebook page, Libby and Alexanda’s Marathon Madness.