Andy Fountain, 53, from West Sussex, will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday 10th October in aid of Rockinghorse Children’s Charity; the charity supported Andy’s family after his son, Eddie, was born with Tracheo Oesophageal Fistula (TOF), which resulted in him undergoing major surgery just hours after birth.
Eddie, 27, was born with TOF. Effectively, this means that his mouth was not correctly connected to his stomach, and he was unable to feed. Eddie was only nine hours old when he underwent a six-hour operation, Andy explains:
“Within hours of being born, Eddie was rushed to the Royal Alex Children’s Hospital, in Brighton. The demanding operation was required to reattach his oesophagus correctly. Naturally, me and my wife, Amanda, were incredibly worried, but we were reassured by the hospital team that Eddie was in the best care possible.”
Following this, Eddie was continuously in-and-out of intensive care for the first six months of his life. As a result of his condition, initially, he was unable to feed properly so used a feeding tube: “Eddie underwent many more operations to correct complications; one surgery resulted in a potentially life-threatening complication. At the time, we could only wait and hope that all would be OK.”
Andy continues: “He eventually came through and had his feeding tube removed on his first birthday.”
During his teenage years, Eddie was told that he may struggle with certain foods. Everyday activities that could be taken for granted, such as eating pizza with friends, could be a challenge: “Eddie was told that his oesophagus may not cope with the texture of certain foods, such as pizza, but we were encouraged by the doctors to try as many foods as possible, and Eddie can eat most things now!”
Eddie was eventually discharged from the Royal Alex Children’s Hospital shortly after his eighteenth birthday.
Since his son’s birth, Andy has undergone many physical challenges to raise money for Rockinghorse Children’s Charity. He explains how the charity helped his family: “The team were on-hand at the hospital, helping us with any questions we had and also supported us when finding accommodation near the hospital within the initial weeks of Eddie’s birth, as it was important for us to be close.”
In 1995, 2003 and 2018 Andy even cycled the length of Britain in aid of the charity: “This has been a small way that I’ve been able to give back and say thank you for all the amazing work the charity does – they continue to help parents who are going through what we went through.”
Over the years, Andy has approximately raised an impressive £10,000 for the charity.
The Royal Parks Half Marathon is one of Andy’s next physical challenges, he explains: “I love the event - I’m looking forward to the atmosphere and running through amazing areas of London’s Royal Parks. I’m aiming to complete it in under two hours!”
To donate to Andy’s cause, go to: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=AndrewFountain1&pageUrl=12