A Moray grandfather is in training for a 180km cycle ride to raise funds and awareness for the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).
Andy Adam, from Fochabers, decided to turn his hobby into a fundraiser to benefit the charity which supports his young grandsons.
The 61-year-old said he knows it is going to be an “arduous” challenge but that it is for “an important cause”.
His grandchildren, Corey and Logan, have both been diagnosed with the incurable condition alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency which can cause damage to the liver and lungs.
To raise the money, he will take part in the Ride the North challenge around the Grampian Highlands on August 28.
‘I will never forget that day’
Mr Adam’s daughter, Emma Adam, first noticed her three-year-old son was unwell when he was a baby as he struggled to gain weight and his jaundice would not clear.
Miss Adam, from Elgin, said: “After numerous tests, when he was just six weeks old, he was diagnosed with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, something I had never heard of.
“I will never forget that day, I felt scared, upset and so helpless – I couldn’t help fearing the worst.
“The health professionals were amazing though, giving us information to read and telling us about the support available from CLDF.”
The charity provides information and emotional support for those affected by children’s liver diseases, most of which do not have a cure.
‘Support from CLDF means a lot’
Following genetic testing, it was revealed that Miss Adam and her partner both carried MZ genes, which means there is a one in four chance their children will have alpha-1.
Ten-month-old Corey was tested straight after his birth and the results arrived three weeks later showing that he also had the condition.
Miss Adam added: “We both took this news harder than we thought we would, I think we had convinced ourselves that Corey wouldn’t have it.
“We do however, feel very lucky that, other than their daily medication and six monthly blood tests and scans, both boys currently live very normal lives and we hope this continues.”
“The support from CLDF means a lot to me. I was pregnant with Corey during the first lockdown last year and I suffered with anxiety both during and after my pregnancy – I really feared the boys catching Covid.
“I sought advice from Kate, CLDF’s families officer, which was a real help. I also like reading stories of other children with alpha 1 on the charity’s website or Facebook page. It gives me hope for the future.”
‘A wonderful thing to do’
The money Mr Adam raises during his challenge will help to ensure that the charity can continue to be there for children like his grandsons.
He said: “In addition to the information and support which my daughter has been given, the charity funds research into rare liver diseases and that’s important to me.
“I’d like to think that one day there will be a cure for alpha-1 and the other rare diseases which affect children. This is my contribution to helping make that happen and I just want to raise as much as I can.”
Alison Taylor, chief executive of Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, said: “We’re the only UK charity dedicated to fighting all childhood liver diseases and we rely on voluntary donations, so we are delighted to hear that Andy is taking on Ride the North.
“What a wonderful thing to do for your grandchildren. We wish him all the best for August 28.”
Mr Adam has already hit his £500 target but hopes to raise as much as he can for the charity. People can donate to the fundraiser through his Just Giving page.