Staff at fish factory put best foot forward

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When Mark and Katherine Teasdale discovered their first born child had Cystic Fibrosis, their initial reaction was shock and devastation.

But now they are turning that into a fight against the condition and hope a cure can be found before little Jack, nine months old, reaches adulthood.

Mark and 13 colleagues from Whitby Seafoods, based on the business park, are doing the Yorkshire Coast 10k race in Scarborough later this month.

‘Team Jack’ will be raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis – which affects the respiratory system and food digestion.

They have already raised over £1,000 and each individual runner is collecting their own sponsorship while other colleages are raising cash through the ‘ice bucket challenge’ and a sponsored bike ride.

The 10km will be no hardship for some runners who regularly do such challenges.

But, for others like finance manager Mark – who admits he use to write his own notes to get out of PE at school – it is the first time they have run.

He said: “He will have a challenge for the rest of his life and I felt I needed to do my bit and hopefully raise awareness as well as the money.

“My colleagues at Whitby Seafoods have been fantastic. I am overwhelmed by the camaraderie of those getting involved.”

When the Teasdales, of St Andrew’s Road, discovered on a Friday night before Christmas that their three week old baby had the life-limiting condition, they admit they had never heard of it.

Two weeks after he was born, Jack underwent a routine test that babies have to check for things such as Cystic Fibrosis or Downs Syndrome.

Mark said: “There was no sign whatsoever. As far as we were concerned he was a healthy happy baby.

“My wife had a phone call the Friday before Christmas. The paediatrician came round. We didn’t know what they were going to say but said brace yourself for some bad news.

“We were numb. Neither of us knew anything about the condition, we just knew it probably wasn’t good.

“We were left for the weekend, we cried, we spoke to our family and they cried.

“From the Sunday onwards we pulled ourselves together and said we will not bring him up any different, we will fight it head on.”

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetically inherited condition causing mucus build up in the lungs and stomach making sufferers more susceptible to infection.

To try to prevent illness, Jack takes four preventative antibiotics a day, has daily physiotherapy and wears a mask during playtime to strengthen his lung capacity.

He still attends toddler groups and goes swimming like most children but his parents have to constantly avoid potential sources of infection.

One in 25 people carry the gene and Mark and Katherine both have it. As little as 15 years ago the life expectancy of someone with cystic fibrosis was just five years old as the condition wasn’t screened but now it is, more can be done.

Doctors have identified a gene to correct and potentially cure it but are struggling to get it into the human body

Mark added: “We did think what have we done wrong, what could we have done better, should we even have had kids?

“From a selfish point of view we thought we won’t have grandchildren, will he make it through school.

“It makes it difficult to plan for the future but you have got to live life for the day.”

Runners are Mark, Megan Graham, Siobhan Robinson, Emma Grange, Lauren Davidson, Becky Lowe, James Owen Taylor, Jamie-Lee Bunn, Damian Bunn, MD Graham Whittle, Edward Whittle, Iain McRobb, Andy Bijl, Sam Crookes.