Chad journalist Ben McVay is running a marathon to raise money for a disabled Sutton toddler.
Elsie, aged three, has spinal muscular atrophy, which means she is unable to stand or walk and, as the disease is progressive, most of her muscles will eventually waste due to a lack of use.
Reporter Ben was so moved by Elsie’s plight he is running the Northumberland Coastal Marathon on Saturday, February 25, to raise money for vital home adaptions which will help give the youngster a decent quality of life.
Ben, aged 40, said: “I’ve been running since I was 25 but never run a marathon or even a half-marathon, although I’ve done a couple of 10-kilometre races before.
“However, after speaking with Charlotte, Elsie’s mum, I was quite emotional and just kind of decided to do it.
“Since becoming a dad I get a bit upset about things like this, whereas they didn’t affect that much before.
“I’ve been following quite a strict training schedule three days a week, doing shorter runs two week nights and a long one on a Sunday. I did 20 miles last weekend and hadn’t slept much the night before, which wasn’t much fun.
“But the marathon itself looks great and there should be some nice views, followed by a few pints afterwards with the family.”
Charlotte, aged 31, of Berristow Grange, said: “We are really grateful to Ben – he is a very generous man for doing it.”
n To donate to Ben’s marathon efforts, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ben-mcvay-elsie-novell