A STUDENT is taking part in one of the most gruelling marathon challenges to raise vital funds for the hospital which saved his life.
Ben Greenwood, aged 19, of Portland Street, Leek, is taking part in the London Marathon on April 13 in aid of Birmingham Hospital.
The University of York student is running the 26-mile challenge for the hospital after he was admitted there as a three-year-old suffering with serious kidney failure, caused by a condition known as haemolytic uraemic syndrome. a
Ben, who aims to raise £2,500, said: "I was on dialysis and was in a coma for a while. I was also on a transplant list, but luckily I didn't need one.
"I had to go back every five years until I was 18 to make sure everything was fine and it wasn't coming back.
"When I was officially discharged I wanted to do something to say thank you to the hospital for saving me, and give something back so they can help other people."
Despite his ill health early in life, Ben has maintained a fit and active lifestyle.
He played for Leek Dragons then Leek CSOB under-18s before going to university to study computer science.
Ben runs up to five times a week and can run 10 miles in one hour and 20 minutes.
He is also part of a triathlon team at university and trains with them twice a week.
He added: "I'm aiming to finish in under four hours. I've always enjoyed running and have always wanted to do a marathon.
"I took part in a 10k race in Leeds and came 57th out of 328 last year, and I'm looking to try and compete in a half marathon before April if I can fit it around uni. I'm also eating healthy and swimming." Ben's mum Julie Greenwood, aged 41, is a senior catering supervisor and is also the welfare officer for Leek CSOB under-18s team, and club secretary for the Leek CSOB reserves team.
She said: "They saved his life, not just once, but three times. He was on kidney dialysis for six weeks and it was touch and go; they didn't think he'd make it.
"He also got fluid on his lungs twice, causing one to collapse, and fluid on his heart.
"The doctors said they could operate, but it would be a 90 per cent chance he wouldn't pull through, or without surgery he'd suffocate in 12 hours. It's difficult to put into words the emotions we went though at the time, especially having to make a split second decision on our son's life, but they were amazing and saved him every single time.
"I'm so proud that he is doing this marathon. His brother Jacob, aged 11, and sister Ellie, aged nine, are really excited and are helping to raise money as well."
If you would like to contribute to Ben's fund visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/bengreenwood/