A SHEFFIELD dad will be going the distance to raise money for premature and sick babies on a challenging 171-mile run from London to Sheffield.
Dave Stannard, aged 49, of Houstead Road, Handsworth, will run the equivalent of eight full marathons in aid of Bliss, which helps give premature and sick babies their best possible chance of survival.
His son Corey was born 12 weeks premature nearly eight years ago, weighing only 2lb 2oz. He was in a critical condition and underwent surgery at just 10 weeks old, spending five months in hospital.
Dave, who works for East Midlands Trains, will follow the railway route, from London St Pancras via Bedford, Wellingborough, Milton Keynes, Leicester, Alfreton and arriving in Sheffield on September 17.
It’s not the first time Dave’s made the journey the hard way. He started fundraising in 2005 with a sponsored walk, then two years later rode a bike from London to Sheffield.
In 2008 he paddled from London to Sheffield in a kayak, but decided to run this year after notching up several full and half-marathons.
Corey’s premature birth prompted Dave’s wife Cath, 38, to become involved with the Bliss Little Miracles Support Group, based in Sheffield.
Cath said their ordeal was traumatic, but that their son is now ‘healthy and happy’.
“The experience of having a premature baby is one you cannot possibly prepare for. As a parent you expect to have your baby and take them home. Instead our lives revolved around the neonatal unit. We left the unit every night just wishing we didn’t have to leave him behind, but seven-and-a-half years later we have a healthy and very happy son whom we are extremely proud of.”
Bliss provides practical and emotional support for families and training and support for doctors. It funds specialist nurses and research.
n Sponsor Dave at www.justgiving.com/stannarddave.
n Log on to www.blisslittlemiracles.co.uk to find out more about the support group.