A BIG-hearted dad from Gornal has set himself a challenging New Year's resolution to run the London Marathon in aid of his son.

Stuart Atkiss, aged 35, has signed up to run the marathon to raise funds for the Ectodermal Dysplasia Society in aid of his six-year-old son Taylor who lives with the rare condition, which he says only affects 500 families in the UK.

He has even vowed to complete the feat in a giraffe costume in tribute to giraffe-mad Taylor.

The Red Hall Primary School pupil was born with the condition which affects his ability to sweat and the growth of his teeth.

An x-ray when he was three-years-old showed Taylor will have only 8 adult teeth as when he grows up and he also has difficulty producing sweat.

Stuart is now fundraising manager for national charity the Ectodermal Dysplasia Society, and hopes to raise upwards of £2,000 through his marathon challenge.

Once he reaches the £500 milestone he will don a giraffe suit when he completes the run, in tribute to Taylor and his love of the animal.

The 34-year-old has previously raised £1,700 through a masquerade ball for the organisation, which Stuart has fundraised for the past two years.

Praising the charity, he said: "I wanted to do it as a thank you for all the help we have received since Taylor was diagnosed.

"They have a Facebook page which is really good for speaking to other families affected by the condition.

"It makes you feel like you are not alone."

Speaking of the shock he and partner Michelle felt when Taylor was diagnosed, Stuart said: "The first question we asked was is 'it life threatening?'"

Stuart explained that the difficulty to sweat is particularly dangerous for babies, as they are swaddled up which could lead to them overheating.

He added: "It was really scary when we were told that."

However, his work with charity has helped put Taylor's condition into perspective.

Stuart added: "We don't realise how lucky he is compared to other children."

In the run up to the marathon, Stuart is planning fundraising events so that he can reach his target before the marathon.

The Five Ways pub in Lower Gornal will be hosting a quiz night in February, while a 'big breakfast' for the community will take place at Upper Gornal Methodist Church in March.

Now, the intrepid dad is throwing himself into his training regime so that he can reach his time target of four and a half hours in April's marathon.

He has been pounding the streets of Gornal and Sedgley as the arrival of the New Year has seen him train in earnest.

He added: "There's a lot of hills to get up!"