A baby girl called Evie who arrived five-and-a-half weeks prematurely has inspired her dedicated dad to tackle the Great North Run to raise money for the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity.
Andy Wakelin, from Mexborough in Doncaster, will be pounding the streets of Newcastle upon Tyne on September 10 for the 13.1 mile event.
All the money raised by Andy will help the charity fund equipment and resources for The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust’s Special Care Baby Unit.
Andy, aged 35, said: “Evie is now a happy, chatty two year-old but I have never forgotten about the amazing care she received from the doctors and nurses on the Special Care Baby Unit at Rotherham Hospital.
“She was born five-and-a-half weeks early, weighing just 3lb 12.5oz and Evie’s mum Beckie suffered from pre-eclampsia, so it was a scary time for us. We were only given a few hours warning that Evie would be delivered by caesarean section the same day and would be taken directly to the Special Care Baby Unit.
“It all came as a bit of a shock but the nurses explained everything really well, kept us updated about Evie’s care and I felt reassured she would be alright.
“Evie spent the first eight days of her life on the Special Care Baby Unit, although that’s a relatively short time for most families whose babies need intensive care. I knew I wanted to repay everyone for the fantastic care they gave Evie and the Great North Run seemed like a good challenge.
“I’ve taken part in large running events before but it will be my first Great North Run. Training is going well, although it’s much harder to fit it in with a toddler to care for. I’m feeling nervous but excited. Hopefully everyone will get behind my fundraising efforts and support me.”
The route for the iconic Simplyhealth-sponsored Great North Run
will begin in Newcastle upon Tyne and takes runners through the city centre towards the River Tyne where thousands of spectators will be lining the bridge to cheer on the participants. From there, the runners will travel through Gateshead to the coast in South Shields.
The charity has recently funded various equipment and resources for the Special Care Baby Unit, including breastfeeding chairs and three biliblankets. The blankets are portable medical devices used to treat babies suffering from neonatal jaundice. They emit a soft blue/white light which helps to break down the high levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream.
Gaby Atmarow, Chair of the Charitable Funds Committee, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear that Evie has inspired her dad to tackle such an iconic and challenging race to raise money for the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity
. On behalf of everyone at the charity, we’d like to wish him the best of luck and I hope everyone supports his fundraising efforts. We really do appreciate every penny raised.”
You can sponsor Andy in person or online at JustGiving here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-wakelin3
For more information about the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity please contact Suzanne Rutter on 01709 426821 or via Charity@rothgen.nhs.uk