Lewis prepares for a marathon challenge in aid of Clapa

Great Thurlow
Chef Lewis Ryan was born with a cleft lip and palate and will be hosting a charity meal and running the Brighton Marathon next year to raise funds for the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) which has supported him through many years of treatment.
Picture Mark Westley ANL-161221-160751009
Great Thurlow Chef Lewis Ryan was born with a cleft lip and palate and will be hosting a charity meal and running the Brighton Marathon next year to raise funds for the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) which has supported him through many years of treatment. Picture Mark Westley ANL-161221-160751009

A young man whose life has involved a marathon medical journey of almost 20 operations and three bone grafts is now preparing for another marathon challenge – a 26.2 mile run for charity.

Lewis Ryan, of Great Thurlow, was born with a cleft lip and palate and has raised more than £14,000 for the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (Clapa) in recent years.

Now the 23-year-old is preparing to run his first marathon – the Brighton Marathon – on April 9 to raise even more funds for the charity.

The former Samuel Ward pupil, who was on a strict diet over Christmas, said: “It’s a charity I’m extremely passionate about and anyone who knows me knows how dedicated I am to it.

Lewis, whose treatment came to an end in March 2016, also volunteers for the charity in his spare time, giving public speeches and offering peer support to others going through the same thing.

He said: “It’s been a long journey, having 18 or 19 operations and countless trips to the hospital for treatment, but, to finally come to the end, it’s like a massive weight off my shoulders and it’s the time to give something back to the charity and to inspire others.

“I think it’s amazing all the work the charity does and not many people know about the condition – one in 700 babies are born every year with a cleft and I think more people should know about it.”

To help boost his fund-raising efforts, Lewis is also planning to host a charity dinner at The Tack Room in Newmarket, where he works as a junior sous chef. He is offering diners a four course meal for £30 per person from 7pm on February 26.

The evening will also include a raffle, an auction with top chef Michel Roux Jr having donated a tasting menu meal with wine at his Le Gavroche restaurant, and guest Clapa speakers.

To book a table, call 01638 666390. To donate visit www.justgiving.com/lewisryan93.