A grateful Dad has completed the Virgin Money London Marathon and raised over £6,000 for The Sick Children’s Trust, as thanks for supporting his family during their time of need.
Butcher Mark Dean, 29, from Walton on the Naze, took on the hottest London Marathon on record on 22 April in 4 hours 50 minutes, securing his first ever marathon medal. Mark ran to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust, a charity that runs free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation for families with seriously ill children in hospital, after they provided him and wife, Poppy, with a place to stay at its Chestnut House when their son, David, required lifesaving treatment miles away from home.
At just a few hours old, David was rushed to The Rosie Hospital, Cambridge, following a series of seizures after a difficult birth. With Mum, Poppy, requiring further hospital treatment, she and Mark had to wait for her to be discharged before they could join their newborn son. While they waited, the couple were told about The Sick Children’s Trust, which runs two ‘Homes from Home’ in Cambridge. Mark, who has already entered into the London Marathon 2019 ballot, says:
“It was incredibly tough running on the day. It was so hot and I’d been used to training in the snow, so I really struggled. But whenever I wanted to give up I thought back to when we were in Cambridge and how brave David had been. His strength inspired me to keep going, along with the reason I was running – to thank The Sick Children’s Trust for the support it had given Poppy and I.
“It was a very traumatic time for us after David was born. What should have been the happiest time of our lives became the scariest as David was taken away from us and rushed to The Rosie Hospital, miles away from home. But what helped was that The Sick Children’s Trust gave us our own room, just a floor away from NICU, which meant we could see David at any time we wanted, day or night, without having to make the four hour round trip.
Although doctors were unable to say why David had suffered from the seizures, he thankfully stabilised. After five days on NICU he was strong enough to be transferred back to Colchester General Hospital, close to the family’s home. At a week old his proud parents took him home for the first time and with no further complications. Mark continues:
“I can’t believe how much money I have managed to raise and I am so grateful to each and every person who has supported me. Initially my target was £2,000, so to have exceeded the £6,000 mark feels incredible. It was a real test of endurance, but a couple of weeks on I am looking to the future and dedicated to continue taking on more challenges and raising even more money for the charity. The day after the marathon I shaved off my beard, which was a pretty big deal in a bid to raise more money and further donations poured in!”
As part of #TeamSCT this year, Mark was joined by 18 other runners who have all combined to raise £25,873 with donations still coming in. The Sick Children’s Trust runs ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country, giving families with seriously ill children free accommodation just minutes from their child’s hospital bedside. The charity relies entirely on voluntary donations and it costs £30 to support a family for one night and so this year’s marathon runners have raised enough to support a family for 862 nights in a ‘Home from Home’. Chestnut House Manager, Abi Abdel-aal, says:
“We were over the moon to hear how much Mark has raised and can’t believe he more than tripled his initial fundraising target! We know it was a really tough race because of the weather conditions and are so proud of all the #TeamSCT runners who kept going nonetheless.
“It is really touching when families, like Mark’s, go on to achieve incredible things for The Sick Children’s Trust. We are excited to hear what Mark decides to take on for his next challenge!”
To add to Mark’s fundraising total, please visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=MarkDean4&pageUrl=1
For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit: http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/