When Darren Little was a baby his 28-year-old dad John was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and told he wouldn’t see 40.
“But dad didn’t see death as an option,” said Darren, who has just celebrated his own 40th birthday. “With the help of my mum and the MS Society he set about following a strict diet and exercise regime and at the ripe old age of 67 is still managing to get around with the help of a stick.”
Now Darren, of Balsall Common, who works as a news editor for Sky News, is planning to raise awareness of MS while raising £2,500 for the MS Society by completing this year’s London Marathon.
And the task won’t be a walk in the park for dad-of-two Darren who has only recently returned to strenuous activities after he underwent what was then a pioneering knee operation, while in his early 30s.
“I had suffered with knee problems for many years but about seven years ago I was told I needed a replacement knee – something that I really felt I was too young to have,” he said.
But when Darren met consultant orthopaedic surgeon Mr Ved Goswami at Spire Parkway Hospital in Solihull, he was offered another option.
“Mr Goswami said he could harvest some of my remaining cartilage and grow it to the necessary size and then stitch it back into my knee. I don’t think I had heard of that procedure before but it seemed a much better option than a replacement knee so I said ‘okay, let’s do it’.”
“Darren was the perfect age for this treatment,” explained Mr Goswami. “At the time it was a new way of treating cartilage damage but it has proved very successful and is still the option I would recommend for most people in their 30s and 40s.
“We send the harvested cartilage to Germany to be grown on before bringing it back to Parkway and refitting it into the patient. The results over the years have been excellent and I am not at all surprised that Darren feels fit enough to run a marathon. There’s no reason at all why he shouldn’t be successful and I hope he raises lots of money for the MS Society.”
Now Darren is working his training routine around his Sky News job which takes him all over the UK and sometimes further afield.
“It is a big challenge but know that if I grit my teeth and put the work in, I can do this. My dad and what he's been through are a constant reminder to me that nothing is impossible and I’m looking forward to seeing his smiling face when I cross the finish line.”
If you would like to sponsor Darren on the London Marathon visit www.justgiving.com/Darren-Little5/
Physiotherapist Jamie Holder treats Darren Little following knee surgery at Spire Parkway Hospital.