It’s best foot forward for grateful mum

Leighton mum Maria Read with daughter Aoife.
Leighton mum Maria Read with daughter Aoife.

Eighteen months ago, Leighton mum Maria Read was sick with worry.

Her beautiful two-year-old daughter Aoife was desperately ill with a mystery infection.

The usually talkative toddler had stopped communicating and her weight had dropped dramatically.

“It was the darkest time my husband Paul and I have ever suffered,” Maria of Grange Close recalls. “It’s one we never want to repeat.”

If it hadn’t been for the tireless dedication of doctors and staff at Great Ormond Street and Luton&Dunstable Hospitals, they would probably have lost their precious little girl.

The mother-of-two – the couple also have a six-year-old son Cian – is now running the London Marathon on April 26 in gratitude. All the money she raises will be split between the two hospitals.

Maria, who’s head of media operations for the England and Wales Cricket Board, explains: “I want to thank them, not only for the excellent support to us as a family, but more importantly for the care they gave to Aoife.

“We never know when we’ll need help from local and specialist hospitals but it’s important to know the lengths they’ll go to ensure we’re handed back our beautiful, healthy children.”

The couple’s nightmare began when Aoife was unable to keep her food down and was vomiting up to three times a day. She had tests at GOSH but that night was admitted to the L&D’s emergency paediatric unit.

Her infection levels were quadruple what they should have been and she was administered five different antibiotics over the next 10 days.

Maria, 40, says GOSH and the L&D worked closely together and consulted her and her former Cedars pupil husband every step of the way.

“Aoife was diagnosed with coeliac disease and she’ll need a strict gluten-free diet and close monitoring for the rest of her life,” she says. “But we’re so relieved to have our happy, chatty girl back with us.”

> Sponsor Maria at www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MariaRead