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Run Simon Run! #4Ava

As well as having my photography business I am also a family solicitor.  We are very fortunate that the Liverpool family legal circuit is a tight knit community packed full of some of the kindest and most compassionate people I am privileged to know.  This has become even more evident in the last few months.

Tomorrow one of those people, Simon Heaney, is running the Liverpool marathon.  By his own admission he is not a runner;

“Fat men don’t run. People with very short legs don’t either. I’m both. I hate running. It’s horrible. Absolutely zero fun.”

Despite this he is running 26 miles.  You may wonder why he is putting himself through this ordeal. The answer is simple, he is running for Ava.  Ava is the 2 year old daughter of Kelly, a solicitor at Heaney Watson, and Mark.  She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer 4 months ago and is fighting this awful disease with bravery and dignity.

Simon has written a lot about Ava (those pieces can be found here and here) and Kelly has recently updated people on Ava’s progress;

‘Since being diagnosed with hepatoblastoma (liver cancer) Ava has had a central line fitted, a liver biopsy, undergone 9 rounds of intensive chemotherapy, 4 MRI and 4 CT scans (under General Anaesthetic), audiology tests, heart scans, kidney tests has had 8 blood transfusions and 10 platelet transfusions, 33 growth factor injections to boost her neutrophils and many other procedures. In addition she is nutritionally supported at the moment with an NG tube.

Aside from becoming very poorly for around 5 days at the end of each ‘cycle’, Ava has endured all of this with a cheeky little smile on her face everyday, most often carrying on as children do as if absolutely nothing is happening to her and bossing everybody (including the medical team) around. She is quite frankly amazing.’

I think we ALL agree that Ava is amazing.  This little girl has found her way in to so many people hearts, many who have never even met her.  She is such a brave little poppet  but this is no surprise given her wonderful family and friends who are supporting her.  In the midst of this illness Ava’s parents want to do everything they can to raise awareness of childhood cancer.  They are incredible.

A few weeks ago Simon arranged for the legal community in Liverpool to wear t-shirts in support of Ava and her family.  Today the children of that legal community as well as children from Liverpool and beyond, whose parents have learnt of Ava’s fight, support you.  You’ve got 26 problems but lack of support ain’t one!

RUN SIMON RUN!!!!! Kick the arse of every single one of those 26 miles and show them who’s boss! Huge thanks to each and every one of the little ones below and their parents for contributing instantly and without question.  You are all wonderful!

I have also decided to match you, photo for mile, with 26 “motivational” images.  Fair play, I think you may have picked the harder task but these may give you a laugh ahead of the job ahead!  Thank you to my husband and children for allowing me to write on your body parts and your toys and to my friends who have received some rather strange texts from me in the last few days (“you got an etch a sketch”, “can I borrow your fingers and toes” and “you still got that god awful sand pit” being just a few!)

#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4AvaAnyone who knows my little boy knows that he loves accessories so he was more than happy to help with this to “help make Ava feel better”#4Ava#4Ava#4AvaSo Waitrose, your chocolate letters do not lend themselves well to the letter “S”. All broken in transit.  But it took so damn long to get the remaining letters to sit still in the bowl of milk that for this one your S is a Z the wrong way round!#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4AvaI phoned my Mum to see if she still had my Speak “n” Spell.  She did even better and found our old Simon says! #4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4Ava#4AvaCharlie was a little concerned that his baby “big baby girl” (who is very clearly a boy!) acquired some body art!#4AvaThis was as close to Jurassic Park as I could do in the suburbs 😉#4Ava#4AvaAnd finally, the wristbands we are all wearing with great pride to remind us why we are all doing this. #4Ava.#4Ava


To date Simon and his 26 miles has raised an astounding £4300.00 for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, who have cared for Ava throughout her treatment.  If you would like to help him raise even more #4Ava you can donate here.  To see the blog of Simon completing his marathon click here. It got emotional!

  • Simon Heaney - May 24, 2014 - 7:28 am

    Rachel – what can I say? That is absolutely amazing! Everything you say about Ava and her family are so true. This is really inspiring and is going to really help me tomorrow. THANK YOU! – SimonReplyCancel

    • Rachel Ryan - May 24, 2014 - 7:38 am

      I think they have touched the lives of so many people and you are doing a wonderful, wonderful thing. The money you have raised so far is beyond amazing and I hope this can get you a bit more. RUN!ReplyCancel

  • Nicola Heaney - May 24, 2014 - 7:54 am

    Rachel, what a fantastic idea. This is absolutely astounding and is a great inspiration for my ‘cous’, Simon. And you are one amazing photographer too! Thank you.
    Simon, so proud of you and what you are doing. Sod the ‘short legs’, you have enough support and determination to smash this one, big time. Respect, Cous.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Kaletha - May 24, 2014 - 7:57 am

    This is amazing Rachel. You are an amazing team xx. All that’s left to say now is……RuN SiMoN rUn #4Ava. Thinking of you All xxReplyCancel

  • Ian - May 24, 2014 - 9:57 am

    Good luck Simon!ReplyCancel

  • Chris Heaney - May 24, 2014 - 10:15 am

    Dyllis and I are very proud of you Simon. We know the effort that you have already put into this wonderful cause. More than that we all hope and pray that this lovely little girl can very soon join her friends in play and fun…Run son, Run #4Ava.
    Many thanks also to you Rachel.ReplyCancel

  • Toni Darcy - August 19, 2014 - 5:45 pm

    Such a moving and motivational post!
    I love the bath picture 4 ava xxReplyCancel

  • Kelly Clarke - August 29, 2014 - 4:19 pm

    What a lovely thing to do Rachel!! I love every one of these photos. You are very creative 🙂ReplyCancel

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