Running the London Marathon: T-Rex style!
05 April 2018
Chris Jones is running the 2018 London Marathon to raise money for Evelina London in thanks for the care his cousin James received for a flesh-eating virus when he was just two years old.
It will be easy to spot Chris on the day – he’ll be dressed as a giant inflatable T-rex, inspired by James’ love of dinosaurs.
James was on holiday when he fell over and grazed his elbow. His parents, Bob and Maia, gave him a cuddle, propped him on his feet and off they went as normal. After returning to the UK, James developed a high temperature and was admitted to Evelina London’s intensive care unit where it emerged that he’d contracted a common infection. James’ condition became dangerous when the virus morphed into an unknown strain – only the second documented case in Europe at the time.
The infection began eating away the flesh in James’ upper arm. Bob and Maia were told that their son’s life was in severe danger as the infection spread, narrowly avoiding his brain. James was operated on almost daily for two weeks as surgeons and doctors slowly managed to remove the damaged tissue. Further operations involved transferring growth plates from James’ leg to his arm to hopefully enable growth. This weakened his ankle and resulted in more operations to help strengthen it.
The success of James’ operations will be learnt as he grows, but thanks to his treatment he’s currently able to enjoy life like any other six-year-old, playing football, hanging off climbing frames and jumping on trampolines.
Giving something back
‘When I see James, I genuinely forget that he has been through this - including 20-plus operations – given the energetic, resilient and happy child he is,’ says Chris. ‘Along with the support of his loving family, this is testament to the extraordinary skill and judgement of the surgeons, doctors and nurses at Evelina London, who brought James back from the brink.
‘Any support I can give to research, medical equipment and books, toys or blankets is a no brainer. Even if it’s only a drop in the ocean, it might at least help one child somewhere and that makes it worth it.’
Going the distance
Chris’ training for the London Marathon is in full swing and he’s tackling long distances: ‘whether I can do it as a dinosaur is another question,’ he says!
Chris’ costume is inflatable with a small fan that runs off household batteries. Unsurprisingly, the thing he is most dreading is a hot day. His father-in-law, Phil, is running with him dressed as a Jurassic Park ranger and will support him by changing his batteries and helping him consume water and food. Chris’ family and friends, including James, will also be there to cheer him on.
‘As a spectator of the London Marathon, the atmosphere compared to other runs was unbeatable. I’m not going for a world record time but maybe I’ll end up going for a high-fiving world record with the crowd!’
Chris has been a busy fundraiser, having printed leaflets, set up a website and created Facebook and Twitter accounts. He’s also taking part in some smaller runs leading up to the main event, to help him reach his £5,000 fundraising target.
‘I'm hoping to raise a Jurassic amount of money for Evelina London,’ says Chris. ‘It’s easy to forget James’ long road to recovery given that he's such an active, sporty and happy child who loves to play rough! We have a great deal of thanks to give to doctors and staff for the amazing care they gave him.’