Brave Ella to Start Mini Run Race to Mark Transplant Anniversary

31 March 2015

On 9th May Ella Chadwick will celebrate her one year transplant birthday by being the honorary race starter at this year’s Morrisons Great Manchester Mini Run. It will be almost one year to the day since seven year old Ella from Whitworth, Rochdale, received a life-saving kidney from her Grandma, Christina Chadwick.

Ella has been a patient of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital all of her life after being born with Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome. The rare illness meant that both of Ella’s kidneys needed to be removed when she was just one year old. Until her transplant Ella had to rely on numerous visits to the hospital each week to receive kidney dialysis.

Now, a year on, Ella has been able to return back to school at Tonacliffe Primary School and as her mum, Karen Hughes, says the change in her daughter has been unbelievable:

 “Ella now goes to school full time -she only did about 6 weeks of school the year before her transplant and even then this was only two days a week so she’s making good progress at school. Ella has been telling her class all about the race and running with Humphrey, she can’t wait!”

“The energy she now has compared to before transplant enables to play with her friends for much longer she is also getting so much stronger on her legs, there was no way we could consider the Mini Run before her transplant. She would only manage a very short distance with her walking frame but now she enjoys using it and asks for it over her wheelchair which gives her much more independence.”

Karen continues:

“Apart from a couple of infections Ella has only been admitted to hospital once since her transplant whereas normally this would be every 3-4 weeks. Strangely Ella is disappointed if she doesn’t get admitted as she loves being in hospital so much!  This year she got to eat her first Christmas dinner and this Easter will be the first time she gets to eat an Easter egg, she can’t wait now she no longer has any food restrictions.”

On hearing about Ella’s remarkable story, Mini Run organisers, The Great Run Company, asked if Ella would like to be the honorary race starter for the annual run aimed at 3-8 year olds. Ella will be waving off 2,500 mini runners at the event at Heaton Park, joined by Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity mascot, Humphrey Bear. Ella is Humphrey’s biggest fan and is always on the lookout for him when she visits the hospital for check-ups every three weeks.

David Hart, Communications Director at The Great Run Company says:

“Since watching Ella in the Charity’s video we have been incredibly touched by her story. Despite everything that she has been through she has a huge smile on her face. Her courage and bravery is extraordinary, she is the perfect choice to be Mini Run honorary race starter. The Great Run team can’t wait to meet Ella on event day, we feel privileged that we can play a part in celebrating her one year transplant anniversary.”

Joining Ella on race day will be friends and family who will be cheering on the little girl as they share this very proud moment with her.

Karen adds:

“Ella’s friends Jade, Ashleigh and Lucy did the race 2 years ago on behalf of Ella but we couldn’t go as she was in hospital. To see her now taking part and starting race is a great way to mark her transplant anniversary.”

Hannah Thomas, Events and PR Manager at RMCH Charity added:

“We’re thrilled that The Great Run Company have asked such a deserving little girl to be the official race starter for this year’s Mini Run.  Being one of our patients we have known Ella since she was born and we know how much waving off the runners with Humphrey will mean to her. This year we are looking for more children than ever to sign up to the run as we are the nominated charity, it’s a day for whole of the family to enjoy.”

The Mini Run is 2km long and is suitable for children 3-8 years old. The Junior Run is the further distance of 2 miles and for children 9-15 years old.

To sign up to the runs visit http://www.greatrun.org/great-manchester-run/junior-and-mini-great-manchester-run and select to run for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity from the drop-down selection.