George joins the runners

George with his mum Carleen and dad Mark with Sarah Lucas, who have organised the charity run at Pennington Flash Country Park for three-year-old George Ward, who suffers with a skull deformity
George with his mum Carleen and dad Mark with Sarah Lucas, who have organised the charity run at Pennington Flash Country Park for three-year-old George Ward, who suffers with a skull deformity

PARENTS of a Leigh toddler born with a rare skull deformity are raising cash to helpother families in the same position.

Three-year-old George Ward, who suffers from Crouzon’s Syndrome, will join charity runners at Pennington Park, in Leigh, in aid of Alder Hey Hospital’s Ronald McDonald House, a hostel for families of critically ill children being treated in the Liverpool hospital.

The second annual George Smiles fun run will see joggers taking part in either the mile or three mile sponsored run on June 11, which last year amassed almost £3,000.

George’s mum Carleen Leyland, of Twist Lane, Leigh, said: “We are organising the charity fun run, which will be good for both children and adults, to raise money for Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey.

“Our little boy George has had 14 operations and spent most of his first year in hospital. Ronald McDonald House was a Godsend, it’s like a charity-run Travel Lodge. The time George spent in hospital would have been so much worse had it been for the charity.

“The event will also include bouncy castles, a disco and fire engines, with £5 entry for the run, and £2 for the walk. Sponsorship is appreciated but not essential.”

George, who has a sister Alex, eight, and brother Josh, 15, suffers from the rare genetic disorder Crouzon’s Syndrome which causes bones in his skull to fuse faster than normal.

The condition affects 15 in every million babies. Although brain development is normal, the plates of the skull fuse before birth. With no space for the brain to grow further, pressure builds up often causing a string of problems: the optic nerves become damaged, the tubes behind the nose are constricted, the throat is squeezed causing reflux and ear infections are common.

Since his birth, George has undergone 14 operations and most of his first year in hospital.

His family have used Alder Hey Hospital’s Ronald McDonald House during George’s many treatments and parents Carleen Leyland and Mark Ward have so far raised £5,000 for the charity.

George’s family have organised a number of fund-raising events in the past. They completed a 24-hour squash tournament, asked for donations instead of gifts for Carleen’s 30th birthday and family friend Tom McCall had his long hair cropped and dyed pink.

Sarah Lucas, who runs Leg It Running Club, is organising the event at Pennington Flash Country Park on June 11 at 11am.

To pick up a sponsorship form, visit Lancastrian Leisure, in East Bond Street, Leigh, or call 01942 677154.

Alternatively, contact Sarah Lucas on 01942 670510,