Alder Hey patient named 41st Grand National runner

Alder Hey patient named 41st Grand National runner

Alder Hey patient named 41st Grand National runner

1st Apr 2022

Four-year-old Betty, who spent the first 13 months of her life in Alder Hey, has been named as the honorary 41st runner in this year's Grand National.

Betty needed critical care when she was born more than four months premature weighing 1lb 7oz (650g) in June 2017.

Her name will appear on the racecard alongside the 40 horses taking part in the world's most famous steeplechase.

Her father Phil, from Warrington, described his daughter as "our little miracle".

"Betty is just amazing. She is the most delightful, placid and brave little girl," he said.

"A nurse once said to us 'Betty brings out the best in people'."

The Jockey Club, which stages the race at Aintree, nominated Betty for the honour to help raise funds for Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool.

Betty FGF.jpg

Betty, who was the size of a Biro when she was born, needed constant treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit at Liverpool Women's Hospital.

She was then transferred to the children's hospital for emergency surgery, which was the first of a number of treatments and operations she needed.

She was finally able to go home for the first time after medical staff trained her parents to deal with her tracheostomy and other medical needs.

Dickon White, The Jockey Club's regional director for Aintree Racecourse and the North West, said by highlighting Betty's story it hoped "to raise awareness and much-needed funds to help other youngsters and their families".

The Jockey Club first created the honorary 41st runner berth in 2017 for five-year-old neuroblastoma campaigner Bradley Lowery, and in 2018 the honour was given to three-year-old Edie Molyneux who suffered from a rare brain tumour.

Alder Hey Children's Charity was given the honorary berth in 2019 while the race did not take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year, 19-year-old teenager Lydia Barker was named as the honorary 41st runner after struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) for years.

She is now studying to be a paediatric nurse in a bid to help other young people with mental health issues.

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