Run for Alfie: A Photograph I simply HAD to do!

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: August 18, 2010

Category: General

A couple of weeks back I received an email asking if I would consider producing a publicity photograph for an upcoming event where are group of guys were going to be running ‘non stop’ from Dover to Farnham; a distance of 127 miles.

Ok so my initial reaction was ‘why would they do that?’ but as I kept on reading I uncovered that the sole purpose was to raise money for a little boy of 3 years called Alfie. You see back in June of this year Alfie was diagnosed with having Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; a severe muscle wasting condition affecting around 100 boys each year.

Needless to say there was no doubt that this was something I simply HAD to do and the photograph you see below is the result that will be appearing in local press, mail shots and wherever else it can be put in front of people’s eyes to help with awareness and fund raising:

I’ve since spoken at length with Alfie’s father Tony and can only begin to imagine how he, his wife Jenny and family must feel. That being said the strength both of them show in public when talking in detail about Alfie and his condition is nothing short of incredible.

To give you more of an understanding of what’s going on and why, here’s the content of the email that I was sent through when initially approached about the publicity photograph:

Alfie’s Story
Alfie Marchant was born on the 21st June 2007 to proud parents Tony and Jenny. Following his 3rd Birthday it was noticed that his speech and aspects of his coordination were less developed than other children in his nursery class.

Although their fears were initially dismissed by medical professionals, after a series of medical tests Alfie was eventually referred to specialists at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, in London.

In June 2010 Alfie was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a severe muscle wasting condition affecting around 100 boys each year.

Alfie’s muscles will become progressively weaker and his health will deteriorate. He will be wheelchair bound within the next few years. There is currently no cure and he is not expected to live beyond his early 20’s.

The family now also have the torment of waiting several months to see if their younger son Arthur, born in February 2010 also has the condition.

North Downs Challenge: In aid of Muscular Dystrophy research and the Marchant Family Trust
On Thursday 23rd September 2010 a team of runners from Heathrow Police Station are attempting to beat the current record for traversing the North Downs Way;
127 miles in 44 hours over rough terrain, equivalent to almost 5 marathons in 2 days, non stop in aid of Muscular Dystrophy research and the Marchant Family Trust.

The challenge is being spearheaded by a small team of Police Officers, ultra runners who are veterans of 250k races including the Jungle Marathon Brazil, Coastal Challenge Costa Rica and the Trans Alpine. They will be supported along the length of the route by colleagues and friends running set stages, making this both a unique record attempt and true family event.

The route runs between Dover and Farnham and to support this and other events you can go to:

* * *

On the day of the ‘shoot’ weather conditions were far from perfect; in fact I think it was the only day of rain we’d had in the middle of 4 superb weeks of sunshine but my thanks to everyone that helped out in the limited time we had; fingers firmly crossed now that it has the desired affect.

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  1. David Kelly


    Being the father of a 4 year old son, it’s been a real struggle to read this post. I can’t begin to imagine Tony, Jenny and their family’s situation but, like you, can admire their strength, courage and resolution shown in the circumstances.

    Best wishes to all involved in the event.



    • Glyn

      David, thanks for commenting and I totally understand how hard it can be to read someones story such as this, especially when you too are a parent of child at a similar age.

      Tony’s strength in public, like I said is incredible. I’ve heard today that if what’s already going on isn’t enough and with the worry of not knowing if their youngest son Arthur is clear or not, it’s likely that Jenny will develop heart problems in later life as it is a gene/DNA strand carried by the female .

      Tony’s father too has recently had an operation where they were told survival rate of the operation itself was 1 in 20. Thankfully, he was the 1 that survived it.


  2. Rick Wenner

    Wow. What a story. At first I was sincerely touched by what this child and his family are going through. Then, after reading your comment in response to David’s, I can barely comprehend the amount of strength that is required in this family. A very touching story to say the least.

    This photo is a great representation of the event. The strength of the two runners along with the love of the family is a great composition. Excellent job Glyn.

    • Glyn

      Rick, I’ve just been lost for words hearing the story of Alfie and also the other things going on in their lives; just one thing would be challenging enough.
      I plan to document the run from start to finish with photographs; feel I need to do more if that makes sense.

      Thanks for stopping by Buddy,
      See you soon,

  3. kelley

    Glyn, Wonderful post and yes that makes sense, and yes I will wait for the photos of the event with great anticipation. This story touches me on many levels and I’m thankful for the strength of others to remind us of the resilience of the human spirit. Its both heartbreaking and encouraging beyond limits.

    The image is incredible and so appropriate for all the reasons Rick mentioned. I especially love the faces and stances of the officers because they personify what I have seen in the men and women of law enforcement all my life. I was wondering if Tony is also and officer. Sorry if that is obvious but I wasn’t sure.

    I will certainly commit this family to heart and prayer.

    Thank you so much for sharing their story, kelley

    • Glyn

      Kelley, thanks so much for dropping by and commenting; I really appreciate it and yeah I know what you mean about the resilience of the human spirit especially with this story.


      ps> Yeah Tony is a Police Officer too; that’s him kneeling down next to Alfie in his ‘day clothes’.
      Thanks too for reaching out to the family; they’ll definitely appreciate that.

  4. Govind Vekaria

    A very touching story and an excellent photograph.

    • Glyn

      Thank you Govind

  5. DaveT

    A very moving story – what strength this family has.

    Glyn, I was wondering about your excellent image. Did you use two separate lights to illuminate both the family and the runners? It would be great if you could do one of your diagrams at some stage

    I also like the way you planned and shot the image leaving plenty of space for the text. And the story is all there in the image too – the family unit, the runners etc. Very well executed.

    Glyn, do you sketch out your idea of paper before setting it up or do you react to what you are presented with on the day?


    • Glyn

      Hi Dave,

      Incredible strength mate and great to see such support coming their way too.

      Re how this picture was made, before the shoot I knew what I wanted to do but with us shooting on the only day of rain in the middle of 4 glorious weeks of sunshine it was challenging to say the least.

      I’m putting together a ‘walk through’ of the shoot itself and also the editing which I think may reveal a few surprises. I’d expect to have this online in the next week or so.


  6. Keith Hammond

    i don’t think there is anything worse than hearing about childrens illness, it’s so bloody unfair they haven’t even had a chance to live properly and experience life as it should be. I am not a religious person but if the power of thought does anything Alfie and his family are definitely in my thoughts.

    • Glyn

      It’s clear that alot of thoughts and feelings of hope are heading their way Keith which I have no doubt is quite overwhelming.

      Thank you for yours mate.

  7. janet hothersall

    Dear Glyn, thank you for your wondeful work in making the photo which I think is fantastic!! you see Alfie is my grandson, I am Jennys mother, to say his condition has broken my heart is an understatement. Alfie as you know ( I dont know if you have been itroduced to him ) is just adorable, we are hoping that people will start serious fun raising all over the country for him so that he can have all the things he will need, thanks again Janet

    • Glyn

      @Janet…Thank you so much for dropping by and taking the time to comment. I only met Alfie for a short time during the photoshoot but he is as you say, an adorable little boy. I truly hope that the poster along with all the events going on, goes a long way to raising a great deal of money.

      Best wishes to you,



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