14/08/2014 12:58 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Obese Mum Loses Seven Stone So She Can Give Her Sick Son A Liver Transplant


If ever there was a motivation to lose weight, mum Charlene Howard had it. For she was told if she didn't lose weight, her young son could die.

Charlene, 33, didn't need more incentive than that and cut out takeaways and junk food to lose more than seven stone.

Back in 2009, Elliot, now nine, fell seriously ill. Doctors told the overweight mum that he might need a liver transplant to save him.

But when Charlene offered a part of her own – as any mum would – she was devastated to be told that at 16st 7lbs, she was too unhealthy to help.

It was another cruel blow for Charlene because she had already battled over hurdle after hurdle with little Elliot after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour as a one-year-old baby, and treated with surgery and chemotherapy at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Elliot, who also has cystic fibrosis, went into remission, but was later diagnosed with liver disease at five years old and doctors said he may need a transplant to survive.

His best chance would be to have part of his mum's liver, which would regenerate and grow to full size.

Charlene said: "It was a total wake up call. I had to be physically healthy to be an eligible donor for him.

"Spending so much time in the hospital I would just grab anything convenient. Crisps, chocolate, chips from the local chippy or ready meals.

"My priority was spending as much time as possible with my son."

But after her wake up call in June 2009, Charlene bought a Wii Fit and started exercising at home.

She said: "I didn't tell anyone at first as I was ashamed that I might fail.

"But after I lost the first stone it felt good and I kept going."

Gradually Charlene, a finance underwriter from Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, cut out the takeaways and junk food, bought her own treadmill and got a new diet plan using a 10-week challenge from DesirableBody.

She said: "I would get up an hour before Elliot and go on the treadmill before I had to get him up, and sort out his feeding tubes and everything.

"It was tough, but I couldn't have done it without my mum and dad throughout."

Thankfully, Elliot is now in remission and a liver transplant has not been necessary so far - although Charlene would now be able to donate part of her organ should he need one.

Charlene, who now weighs 9st 7lbs, added: "Now I have lost weight Elliot and I have so much fun. He is my pure focus for the future."