Sam and Emily with Evelyn and Lennon

Emily’s marathon effort to thank Kent Association for the Blind for their support

A mum and maternity care assistant is running the London Marathon to raise money for the charity that has supported her family since her son was identified as blind.

Emily Best, 32, is hoping to raise £4,500 for the Kent Association for the Blind as a thank you for the support they have given her and her partner Sam Killip since the birth of their son Lennon, now two.

Lennon has a condition called septo optic dysplasia, which affects different areas of the brain. His optic nerves did not form properly and he has no vision at all. The charity provided emotional and practical support for the family, including canes for Lennon to use and dedicated days out where they can meet other families and enjoy fun activities together.

Emily, who lives in Deal and works at Buckland Hospital in Dover, said: “You don’t ever think you are going to have a child with disabilities or extra needs.

“It was heart-breaking when we found out he couldn’t see. I thought surely they would be able to do something, that he might need glasses or surgery, but there is nothing anyone can do.

“The Kent Association for the Blind and our support worker Jen have been absolutely fantastic and has been there with us through everything so by running the marathon we hope to give something back.”

Lennon was born via emergency caesarean section 10 weeks early, after Emily became seriously ill with Covid. He was rushed to St Thomas’s hospital in London before being transferred back to the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate. In total he spent 63 days in neonatal intensive care and the special care baby unit.

Emily said: “Both of us nearly didn’t survive, so it was quite traumatic. We didn’t see him until he was five days old, and couldn’t hold him until day 11.

“He fought so much to be here, and continues to fight and overcome his daily challenges. His strength and determination inspire me every day.

“Lennon and his older sister Evelyn have a lovely relationship and she teaches people at school about sight loss.”

Emily will take on the marathon with Sam, who is a keen runner and hoping for a personal best time. But it is her first event, after starting with the couch to 5k programme.

She said: “I am not a runner at all, so I’m just hoping to cross the finish line. We watched the London marathon on TV last year and I felt really inspired and thought if I could raise money for the Kent Association for the Blind it would be amazing.

“When we were accepted it suddenly felt very real but I’m grateful to have my health and to be able to do it, and I want to raise as much as possible to help the charity help other families like ours.”

The couple have already held a quiz night and are planning a Zumbathon to raise more money. You can add to their sponsorship at