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Park life: Running the Royal Parks Half Marathon for Evelina London

04.10.16 Categories: Patient stories, Supporter stories, News from the hospital

Soraya and William Berry

Soraya Berry is training hard ahead of the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon on 9 October to raise funds for Evelina London.

Soraya has been inspired to run through four of London’s Royal Parks to thank the hospital for the kind and expert care her son William has received for his cleft palate. She shares William’s story with us here.

Visiting Evelina London for 12 years 

‘We have been coming to Evelina London for over 12 years now – William had his first operation aged three months back in early 2004. Since then, he’s had several more operations at Evelina London and regular check-ups at the South Thames Cleft Service.

‘The cleft team and medical and support staff are always so kind to William, and my husband Tom and I are so grateful for the care William gets. Seeing your child going into theatre is heart-wrenching, and seeing them in pain afterwards is no better.

‘The medical staff who looked after William for his recent bone graft operation in March 2015 were fantastic. They helped William keep calm, and it really helped us to see him in good hands. William also spent time at Evelina School which was a really great way to distract him ahead of his operation. 

‘No one wants to go to hospital, and for children in particular it’s a daunting and frightening experience. Evelina London tries its hardest to reduce that worrying feeling by making the hospital environment welcoming and friendly, and we are very grateful that William is looked after so well.’

Running to raise awareness of cleft lip and palate

‘Evelina London is very close to our hearts – we have seen first-hand how important the work it does is for children. Raising funds and awareness about cleft lip and palate and the treatment involved are two reasons for running for the hospital. However, the most important reason is William. We are extremely lucky to have him - he is absolutely amazing!

‘Having completed several 10K runs in the past, I decided it was time to tackle my first half marathon and couldn’t think of a more deserving cause than Evelina London. It’s a big step up from 10k, but any distance pales into comparison to what William has been through – and will continue to go through – with his surgery and treatment as he moves towards adulthood.

‘William has been helping me train for the race – he runs (much faster than me) and this year he represented our borough at the London Mini Marathon. We recently ran our local ParkRun and he kindly came back to run with me to help me finish as he completed the course so quickly. William and I have also enjoyed running together for other local runs – again, he kept stopping so I could keep up with him!

If you’d like to support Soraya (and her super-fit trainer William), you can donate to her fundraising page here.

Pic: Soraya and William at one of their training runs earlier this year.