A grateful mum has crossed the finish line after taking on her first ever 10k race, raising over £1,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, as thanks to hospital dietitians who provide life-line support to her baby twins.

Alex Greenwood, from Shrewsbury, had never imagined she’d become a runner but after her 10-month-old twin boys, Robin and Ewan were diagnosed with a rare metabolic condition not long after birth, she knew she had to give back to the team which supports her family daily.

Robin and Ewan were just a couple of weeks old when their heel prick test results showed they both had MCADD, a genetic and potentially life-threatening condition which means their bodies struggle to break down fat to use as energy. Alex and her partner, Tom, were overwhelmed with emotion and worry thinking about how they would manage their sons’ illness, but it was dietitians from Birmingham Children’s Hospital who came to their rescue.

The metabolic dietitians helped Alex and Tom understand the twins’ condition, explaining that the key was to ensure the boys’ energy demands didn’t exceed their energy intake. The risk to that would only usually be if they hadn’t eaten for a while or when they were sick. They guided the couple on how to fully manage Robin and Ewan’s illness.

This wasn’t just a learning opportunity for Alex and Tom however. As their family’s case was so rare, the dietitians also made sure the twins’ local hospital was educated in the treatment of the condition, should Robin or Ewan be admitted as an emergency, having slipped into the ‘danger zone’.

The team from Birmingham Children’s Hospital also provided Alex and Tom with a 24-hour helpline to call in times of crisis, a service that is currently only provided in the Midlands. If either of the twins is facing an episode, the team can coach Alex and Tom through a series of management techniques to stabilise the boys, rather than them being taken straight to hospital.

Alex said: “The team of dietitians at Birmingham Children’s Hospital continue to be a lifeline to our family. Between them, Robin and Ewan have only had to be admitted to hospital with their condition around three times, but I’ve stopped counting the number of admissions that have been prevented thanks to the incredible help that is available to us on the phone, 24/7.

“I’d love to see more recognition for these wonderful people and that’s why I pushed myself to take on a 10k running challenge. My only goal was to reach the finish line, but with encouragement from my friends Jamie and Indee, I managed to run about 7k, walking the rest and even doubled my fundraising target for the department.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Receiving rare diagnoses can be incredibly daunting for parents, but our specialist team of metabolic dietitians do all they can to ease that fear for parents like Alex and Tom.

“Through her incredible efforts, Alex has shown just how much our team’s brilliant services mean to her family, and the money raised will go on to help our teams support other children with metabolic conditions and their families.”