Thank you to our fantastic 2019 London Marathon Runners!

Published: Wed, 14th November 2018, 12:36:00 PM

Lee Barnard

'I was born with TOF in 1979 at St Mary's Hospital in Greater Manchester and was operated on the day after.

Since then, I've had a few health issues. I had half of my left lung removed in 1983 after choking and flooding my lung. In April 2015, I had a blood clot in my leg and this meant I needed to become more active.

I started running as a result of Parkrun starting near me in Cannock Chase in November 2016. I had done a few Manchester 10ks back in the 2000s, and since 2016, I have done around 30-40 5k runs and 10k runs. 

I am delighted to be running for TOFs to raise awareness.'



See Lee's MyDonate page here:

Angela Carter

'Hi, I’m Angela, mum to TOF Jenson and super excited to have the opportunity to attempt running the London Marathon for TOFS.

Jenson is 11 now, and whilst he is really well, he like so many of our TOFS, has faced so many challenges and battles including theatre trips, surgeries, a gastrostomy, tracheostomy and too many infections/hospital stays to even count! Even though he didn’t eat until he was 8, he has faced all of this with a smile on his face and has truly beaten the odds!

Jenson is my inspiration every day. After watching him finish the Junior GNR last year I really wanted to do something which would make him as proud of me as I am of him (and raise a shed load more money for TOFS!). So....this is that challenge, whilst I like to run, I have never attempted anything on this scale. I'm hoping that lots of training, the sponsorship and Jenson waiting at the finish line will all spur me on.  I am always grateful for the support from our TOFS family (especially our NE group!) so if anyone fancies sponsoring me or joining me on some training runs give me a shout!'



See Angela's MyDonate page

Rebecca Crofts

'My inspiration for running the London Marathon comes firmly from my son Bobby and my husband Tony.

Bobby is our TOF Warrior – I have seen him go through so much in his short life, overcome the hardest biggest hurdles and achieve more than anyone ever thought possible. He feels me with pride every day and gives me the inspiration to embrace every opportunity and face a new challenge with a smile, just like he has done and continues to do. 

Tony, my husband, bravely ran the London Marathon for TOFS last year. I saw him progress from not even running for a bus to completing 26 miles. That was life changing for me. I was filled with pride for him. He set his mind to it and he did it, inspirational in his grit and determination getting him through all the pain, and all the many, many hours spent training, in all weather conditions, at any hour of the day! He did this with us both working in professional jobs and taking care of Bobby and his sister Cassie too. If he can do it, I can do it too (and maybe even beat his race time in a bit of friendly marriage rivalry 😉 ).

I have the best training partner too – Barkley, our family pet dog.' 



See Rebecca's MyDonate Page:


Danielle Gautrey

'I’m mum to 7yr old TOF Thomas, his 4 year old brother Matthew and 13 year old sister Charlotte.  I work full time plus help out with the PTA at the children’s Primary School.  It’s fair to say that I’m not a natural athlete, I’m far more comfortable having wine or coffee and cake with friends than running!

I watched the 2017 London Marathon on the TV and realised I could potentially raise a lot of money for TOFS, so I started running in September 2017 with a local running group in their 0-5km group.  I then progressed onto an intervals group with a 10km race in mind.  Over the last six months I have managed to build up to complete the Birmingham Half Marathon.  I tend to do run / walk intervals and will be found at the back of the crowd rather than leading the pack.  I will only be doing a marathon once and aim to make the most of this fantastic opportunity!'



See Danielle's MyDonate Page:

Michael Lawson

'Hi. My Name is Michael Lawson and firstly I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to TOFS for the opportunity to run the London Marathon, and raise awareness and funds for such an amazing charity.

Until 2016 I was totally unaware of TOF and that such a condition even existed. All that changed for me when Gayle, my partner, came into my life three years ago.

As I became closer to Gayle, I inevitably became closer to her two amazing children Harry, and Elliott, who has TOF. As time passed Gayle has educated me all about TOF, what life with Elliott’s condition is like, and the history of his life with his extensive medical history and his 20+ operations.

I was, and still am, overwhelmed that there's no reason, or cure, for TOF and that it still unheard of by even some medical professionals. I now know TOF children may have life long issues as their respiratory and feeding mechanisms are affected. Many will have major choking episodes and have multiple cases of pneumonia and other complications. 

Whilst I have supported Gayle and Elliott through his dilatations, holding his hand and cuddling him through the nights when his reflux is testing him, my heart still stops and misses a beat when he has a choke. It never gets easier seeing him suffer.

But what inspires me then most is that every day Elliott wakes up he has the biggest smile, he never moans and gets upset, he takes whatever life has to throw at him head on with his most infectious smile.

He is without a doubt my hero! So being accepted to run the London Marathon to raise much needed funds and more importantly to raise awareness of TOFS and the amazing support they have given to Gayle and Colin, and now myself, and to many other families like ours, will be an absolute honour.

Running around London for a few hours on a fresh spring morning, and completing Bolton Iron Man In July, is nothing compared to what Elliott has endured and continues to endure. My sacrifice is just a small price to pay for my hero, the bravest person I know, our little Ellibobs (Elliott Mitchelmore tof) xxx'



Michael is holding a Charity Evening in Irlam, Manchester in April as part of his fundraising for TOFS. Find out more here.


See Michael's Virgin Money Giving page:

Kirsty McKenzie

'I'm running the London marathon for my nephew Leo, 4 years old. He was born with an Oesophageal Atresia (OA) & Tracheo Oesophageal Fistula (TOF) meaning his food pipe didn't meet his stomach and a that there was an abnormal connection between his windpipe and food pipe.

Initially, we thought he was born a healthy little boy until he started to try and feed. He was struggling, frothing at the mouth and blowing bubbles. A nurse was called down from the neonatal intensive care unit heard this and straightaway recognised the symptoms. Following a quick diagnosis he was very lucky to receive life changing surgery within a few hours of being born.  Leo has had fantastic treatment and is doing incredibly well. But because his oesophagus didn't develop normally, it is likely that he will have eating/swallowing difficulties throughout his life. The TOFS charity does invaluable work supporting families bringing up a child with these conditions.

I've been running for about 3 years, completing 9 half marathons in that time, now I'm upping the challenge to a full marathon to raise money for TOFS whose work is close to my family's heart.'


See Kirsty's MyDonate page here:

James Pack

'I was inspired to (attempt to!) run the marathon for TOFS for my son Charlie when I attended the TOFS annual Conference. We have had our share of very low lows as I'm sure most TOF parents have. The emergency after birth, the major surgery and repair, and the hope for recovery. The choking on feeding, and the chest infections leading to pneumonia.

The Conference brings you together with others who have experienced similar and many far more serious and constant issues. The fact that this charity brings us parents together to know we are not the only ones dealing with these challenges is reassuring in itself. And the fact that TOFS can attract such high calibre medical people both to the Conference, and to write for the TOFS Book and materials, shows that money raised is well spent. We have used the help from other parents and the TOFS materials in dealing with weaning and stickies and much more.

So, I'm running for Charlie who is doing really well now and whose cheeky smile lights up our world. I'm also running for the charity TOFS who I know will spend the money raised well.'



View James' MyDonate page here:

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