Parents' marathon effort to thank hospital for saving baby

A DEVOTED mum and dad '“ both hardcore marathoners '“ are to complete their next marathon journey side by side in honour of their baby daughter Tess and the team of medics who have brought her back from the brink of death three times.

Mum Claire Kelly. Picture: Supplied

Claire and Grant Kelly, from Motherwell, will take part in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon later this year to raise money for the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity. The couple say that putting themselves through the physical and mental demands of running the marathon is a small price to pay in return for the ­miracles the hospital has worked with Tess, who underwent her first surgery aged nine weeks.

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Claire, 36, said 21-month-old Tess had been on the brink three times in her short life, and three times they have saved her.

She added: “She is doing so well just now that you would look at her and think there’s nothing wrong with her – she’s just a wee minx. This hospital works miracles – there’s no other way to describe it. It has worked miracles not only for us but for so many other families. Without them, we would not have Tess and we simply wouldn’t be a family.

“We have always supported each other in our marathon training before. If I am running, then Grant will support me with my training and vice versa. But we both wanted to do the Loch Ness Marathon together and run side by side – this is a very sentimental journey that we want to complete together for Tess.”

At just one week old Tess was ­diagnosed with congenital heart ­disease which was causing ­narrowing and thickening of the aortic valves. A scan a few weeks later showed there had been a rapid deterioration in her condition and she would need an operation immediately.

Claire added: “It was terrifying while she was in surgery, but she is a real fighter.”

The fact that Tess will need ongoing care is what has motivated ­drama treacher Claire and Grant, 37, a forensic nursing assistant, to raise money. It is only since they started fundraising for the cause last year – generating thousands of pounds in the process – that they have become aware just how many families across Scotland have been helped by the hospital.