Dad’s ‘bucket list’ ambition

Mark Williams is raising awareness of liver disease in children by plunging from a plane at 10,000 f

Mark Williams is raising awareness of liver disease in children by plunging from a plane at 10,000 feet.His young son Max suffers a host of problems and will need a transplant.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Little Max Williams seems so full of beans it is difficult to imagine there could be anything wrong with him.

But the lively two-year-old has a rare liver disease and needs eleven doses of different medicines to keep him well each day.

To raise awareness and funds for the charity that has helped him and his family his father Mark Williams will today achieve a long-held dream - plunging 10,000ft from an aeroplane in a daring tandem skydive.

Mr Williams, 35, a delivery driver of Nuffield Close, Gorleston, has timed the stunt to coincide with Big Yellow Friday, the national awareness and fundraising day of the Children's Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) which sees people across the country baking cakes and wearing yellow for the cause.

He said: 'CLDF has been an important charity to me ever since my son, Max, was diagnosed with the rare liver disease, biliary atresia, and they were there for us with information about his condition and support for us.

'Max had early surgery which was successful but we know that one day he may need a liver transplant and he will continue to need the support of the charity in the future. A skydive is something I have always wanted to do and I thought it was a good way of joining in with Big Yellow Friday as, in addition to raising funds I want to raise awareness of CLDF. So many people have never heard of Max's condition and do not realise that liver disease is something which can affect children.'

Mark is hoping that the skydive, which takes place at Beccles Heliport, will raise £500 for CLDF.

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Max was born with jaundice and became ill again at around seven weeks old.

Mr Williams and his then partner Donna Cooke, who is also now involved with the charity, took him to Gorleston's James Paget Hospital where he was kept in. Just over a week later he was at King's Hospital in London having major surgery because his liver was not working properly and vital ducts were blocked.

Mr Williams said it was the worst five hours of his life.

Max, although generally well, needs to keep a lid on his activity and be careful not to consume anything with a trace of alcohol including cough medicines.

The charity's chief executive, Alison Taylor, added: 'We are the only UK charity dedicated to fighting all forms of childhood liver disease, which we do by providing information to healthcare professionals, emotional support to families, funds for research and a voice for all affected. To do this we rely almost entirely on community fundraising so Big Yellow Friday is a really important day for us. We are so grateful that Mark is doing this for us and hope that the experience lives up to expectation.'

To support Mark's skydive by visit https://www.justgiving.com/Mark-Williams-80/.

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