After being treated for a dangerously low blood platelet level at just three years old, Andy Staley has held a life-long connection to Sheffield Children’s Hospital. This year he’ll be heading down south and hoping to raise as much money as possible for The Children’s Hospital Charity by running the London Marathon.

“The staff at Sheffield Children’s Hospital saved my life when I was really young,” said 28 year-old Andy, who lives in Wickersley, Rotherham. “At the time the platelet count in my blood was so low that I was having 24 hour nose bleeds and I was covered all over in bruises. I was treated on the cancer ward and needed multiple blood transfusions to pull me through. I’m fit and healthy now thanks to the doctors at the hospital.”

Andy, who works as a School Games Organiser, was also treated at the hospital for pyloric stenosis as a baby and later on for several sporting injuries.

“I’ve been on almost every ward of Sheffield Children’s Hospital by now!” said Andy. “I’ve got a 14 month-old daughter called Olivia and she’s already been treated there as she needed a small procedure on her tongue when she was born.”

This will be Andy’s second marathon effort for The Children’s Hospital Charity, after completing the 2014 London Marathon in 3 hours 56 minutes and raising £1,500 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“My main target is just to complete the marathon faster than I did last time,” said Andy. “Now that I’ve done one marathon I know what to expect and how to train. From January I’ll be running around four or five times a week – as often as I can between my job and changing nappies basically!”

“When I ran my last marathon I was about 18 miles into the race when I reached what people call ‘the wall’. They say you’ve just got to run through it but this wall was concrete. It was just horrendous – it felt like I was dragging a 10 tonne lorry behind me. I just kept thinking, ‘I’ve got to get there’ because all my things were at the end – all my clothes and the people I came down with. I didn’t want to be the person sat on the tube going to the finish line.”

“The crowd pushes you on massively. Just hearing a random bloke or a kid saying “come on Andy you’re nearly there” or someone giving you grapes at the side of the road – the community spirit keeps you going and makes you not want to be the person who’s walking!”

“Sheffield Children’s Hospital helps local people and people from all around the world,” said Andy. It does wonders with the resources that they have and the doctors there are just amazing. It’s a brilliant place and we’ve got to help them and The Children’s Hospital Charity build on how fantastic it is and make it even better.”
Caitlin Hallatt, Fundraising Assistant for The Children’s Hospital Charity said, “We’re so grateful to have Andy representing us at this year’s London Marathon. To complete one marathon is a huge achievement and the fact that he’s prepared to run again to support our charity is just incredible. We’d like to wish him the very best with all of his training this year!”

If you would like to support Andy you can donate at www.virginmoneygiving.com/andystaley

The Children’s Hospital Charity London Marathon places have now been filled, but there are still places available for the Yorkshire Half Marathon, which is taking place on the 9th April in Sheffield. Email events@tchc.org.uk if you’re interested in taking part.