Families enjoy activity weekend organised by liver disease charity

Marianne Johnston (left) with her daughter Lucy Ellen and Catherine Snijder (right) with her daughter Abigail enjoying the special activity weekend at Todds Leap organised by Childrens Liver Disease Foundation. Pic by John O'Neill
Marianne Johnston (left) with her daughter Lucy Ellen and Catherine Snijder (right) with her daughter Abigail enjoying the special activity weekend at Todds Leap organised by Childrens Liver Disease Foundation. Pic by John O'Neill

Two local families joined with others from across Northern Ireland recently for a special event for families whose children have liver disease.

The activity weekend at Todds Leap, near Ballygawley, was organised by Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) - a national charity dedicated to taking action against the effects of all liver diseases of childhood.

People of all ages took part in a range of activities from archery to zip lining and body zorbing. They also had the opportunity to meet others in the same situation, share experiences and make new friends.

CLDF is the UK’s only charity dedicated to fighting all forms of childhood liver disease and the event was one of the ways in which the organisation supports families who are affected.

“Liver disease in children is rare and a diagnosis means a lifetime of care so it can be an isolating experience,” explained CLDF Chief Executive Alison Taylor.

“By bringing families together in this way, we can enable them to build networks to support each other.”

Two mums who are doing just that are Catherine Snijder and Marianne Johnston from Lisburn.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend,” said Catherine, whose two-year-old daughter, Abigail, was born with the rare liver disease, biliary atresia.

“I think it is very important that CLDF organise and part fund this event as it is an opportunity for families in Northern Ireland who have children with liver disease to meet others and chat informally about living with the disease.”

Marianne’s three-year-old daughter, Lucy Ellen, also has biliary atresia and received a life-saving liver transplant when she was just seven months old.

“CLDF have been so supportive,” she said. “It’s lovely being able to take time out with people who understand what we are going through and being able to show ‘new’ families that things can get better.”

For further information about CLDF and its services log on to childliverdisease.org