Why I’m running the London Marathon for Bliss – Adam’s story

Adam's neonatal experience with his son who arrived at 28 weeks inspired him to take on the 26.2 mile run.

It’s 22 April 2018 and I am sitting at my son’s cotside in Luton and Dunstable NICU, watching the London Marathon on my iPad.

I have many friends and a family member running in the marathon and I’m waiting to see if I can catch a glimpse of any of their faces in the crowd of runners. I had planned to be at the event, cheering them on from the side lines but after my son, Arlo, arrived at 28 weeks these plans went out of the window.

I have been visiting Arlo on the neonatal unit for nine weeks now. He’s come a long way since his sudden arrival. He weighed a tiny 2lb 12oz and still has a long way to go on his journey. Our whole family has had a rough ride of it – with countless ups and downs along the way. Arlo has already been through so much and you wonder how his tiny body can endure it. Throughout his stay in NICU he has been treated for multiple infections, respiratory distress syndrome, gastro-oesophageal reflux, jaundice and a collapsed lung.

Just a week before the marathon, we had been told we’d be able to go home soon but that Arlo would need to be on home oxygen. I read a leaflet from Bliss that really helped me understand what that meant and how to adapt to what would be a huge responsibility at home.

As I watch the race on my tiny iPad screen in the darkened world of NICU, I feel incredibly inspired to see those bright and amazing scenes unfolding in London. I make a pledge to Arlo and myself that I’d do that race for him – pushing my body to the limit like he had done in his fight for survival.

A few months later, I apply to run for Bliss in 2019 via their website with Arlo sitting next to me at home. Unbeknown to me, my mum and brother also have the same idea. Together we were all accepted and form #TeamArlo. The experience of training together bonds us all. We endure the long runs, the injuries, the physio, the acupuncture – it’s made us even stronger as a family.

Together, #TeamArlo has raised more than £11,000 for Bliss so far – I’m incredibly grateful to everyone that’s donated to such a brilliant cause.

As we’ve been getting ready for the biggest race of our lives, Arlo continues to absolutely thrive! He started nursery this week and is progressing well beyond expectation. On Marathon Sunday he will be there cheering for Nanny Wendy, Uncle Alex and his Dad. Arlo will always be brought up knowing how lucky he was to have the support of the NHS, Friends, Family and Bliss. Maybe one day he’ll run for Bliss too!

To support #TeamArlo, visit their fundraising page.

Want to share your story with us?

If you have had a premature or full term but sick baby in neonatal care, we would love to hear from you. Fill in our online form to share your story with us.
share my story