Dad to tackle 100k London to Brighton challenge to raise awareness of daughter’s rare condition

James Alford from Thetford with his daughter Isabella.James will be running the London to Brighton 1

James Alford from Thetford with his daughter Isabella.James will be running the London to Brighton 100km challenge to raise money for the CATS foundation, a charity which helpd families affected by Tay Sachs. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A father whose daughter suffers from a rare genetic disorder is hoping to raise funds and awareness of the condition by taking on a 100km run.

James Alford, from Thetford, will take on the London 2 Brighton Challenge for Cure and Action for Tay Sachs (CATS) as his seven-year-old daughter, Isabella, suffers from the condition.

Taking place on May 28, Mr Alford, 47, will set off from Richmond Park with Leonie and Ian Holmes, two friends who are joining him on the run.

All three are running for CATS and hope to raise around £1,500.

He said he is expecting a tough time.

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'It's going to be a challenge,' he said.

'We are hoping to run most of it but we'll definitely have to walk some parts, especially the hilly bits on the South Downs.

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'I've trained a bit and got up to 18 miles on runs, but this will be another step up from that.'

Tay Sachs is a genetic disorder which causes a relentless deterioration of mental and physical abilities, giving sufferers an average life of expectancy of five-years-old.

Isabella was diagnosed with the condition in 2011, and its effects have left her blind and unable to swallow.

Despite her condition, she attends Chapel Road School in Attleborough two days a week and has been taken on a host of activities, trips and days out by her parents.

And Mr Alford said she had defied all expectations.

'She's amazing. She takes various medicines every two or three hours, and is fed overnight through a tube.

'But she is enjoying life, and her condition hasn't deteriorated much in the last 12 months.

'But we know that can change, which is why it's important to share the work that CATS is doing because people aren't aware of Tay Sachs and what it's effects are,' he said.

To donate to Mr Alford's efforts, go to

Are you taking on a huge challenge for charity? Email or call our Thetford office on 01842 752510.

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