‘Thank you Acorns for caring for Caitlin!’

For Phillip Pitcher, completing the London Marathon is a family matter.

The 28-year-old, from Stroud, is taking on the 26.2-mile challenge to give back to Acorns, which provides vital care for his sister Caitlin, as well as support for his family.

The London Marathon will be Phillip’s first-ever marathon. But Phillip, who is a Corporal with the Royal Logistics Corp, has been busy training, having already completed the Gloucester 10k and the Gloucestershire Half Marathon.

He is aiming to raise £650 towards Acorns work and complete the marathon in under four hours.

Here Phillip shares his story…

When Caitlin was born in December 2007 we didn’t know if she would survive.

After a normal pregnancy she was born very floppy and unable to open her eyes.

After a spell in special care, Caitlin became stronger and was allowed home for Christmas.

Then on 27 December disaster struck! Suddenly she stopped breathing, not once but twice.

We rushed her back to the hospital. Within hours she was on a ventilator and being transferred to Leicester Royal Infirmary, where she spent several days in ICU.

After six months and countless tests later, we were allowed to bring her home again, this time with ventilators which keep her safe while she sleeps.

We have since learnt that she has a gene deletion. The result being that she can’t walk, talk or feed herself. My parents carry out all her personal care every day.

Don’t get me wrong although it’s exhausting it’s also very worthwhile. She always has a smile and is always ready to play.

Acorns support and supply them with much-needed respite.

They give my parents a break, so they can recharge their batteries and be able to continue caring for Caitlin. It allows them to go and do their own thing instead of worrying about where they can feed Caitlin or get her changed.

This is why I’m trying to raise a little money for them. It might not be a lot, but it’s our way of saying thank you for all your work. Thank you for taking such good care of Caitlin so that my parents can relax and have a break. Thank you for caring for Caitlin.

It’s not just the individual children that are getting the help they need, it’s the whole family getting the help they need and the support they require. For my parents it means a lot, they’ve helped them out massively over the last 10 years.