Emily Lane, a mum from Brierley Hill has raised over £1100 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity after taking on the Great North Run to say thanks for the care her daughter, Matilda, receives at the hospital. 

Matilda was just six weeks old when, on a routine check-up at the GP, he noticed something wasn’t quite right with her sight. She was referred to their local hospital and it was there, two weeks later, that Matilda was diagnosed with bilateral congenital cataracts - where both eyes suffer cloudiness in the lens, which can severely impact vision. Further examinations also revealed she had a rare genetic disorder called Branchio-oculo-facial Syndrome or BOFS. The disorder affects the head and neck primarily. 

At that point, Matilda was referred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s specialist Eye Department where she had surgery at four months old to remove both cataracts. Now, she simply attends treatment every six-eight weeks to keep an eye on her vision to ensure it doesn’t worsen and he uses contact lenses as part of her treatment which mum, Emily, describes as “amazing”. 

After Matilda’s ordeal, Emily was greatly motivated to help raise money to support the hospital that treated her daughter. She selected the Great North Run after seeing it advertised. Having had prior experience running three half marathons, she knew she could do it, but being out of practise, she knew it would take a lot of motivation. Thankfully, Matilda and her journey, was the only inspiration she needed.  

On the day, Emily was nervous as she set off, mostly due to the incredible heat, followed by a torrential downpour, which added extra difficulty to the already huge task. The race proved to be both a physical and emotional challenge but nonetheless, Emily persisted. Overwhelmed with emotion, Emily burst out crying when she crossed the finish line. 

Emily said: “I am so proud to have taken on the Great North Run, to say thank you to the amazing staff at the Children’s Hospital who helped Matilda. It was so tough physically, but nothing compared to what Matilda and other patients have to go through. It feels so amazing to have doubled my initial target and raised so much for charity.” 

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: Having a child with an illness or condition is a very frightening reality for many parents to face. We are so proud of Emily for using Matilda as motivation and challenging herself in our aid, so we can continue our work.”