Chris Steward is taking part in a 50-kilometre run today, Saturday, August 15, which he hopes will help to raise money for a cause close to his heart.
For the 34-year-old is carrying out the Stour Valley Path run from his home town of Sudbury to Cattawade, near Manningtree.
And he is planning to raise funds for the My WiSH Charity, which supports the work of the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, with the money directed towards the Rainbow Ward.
For it was where his young daughter Nora was treated for bronchiolitis when she was just seven weeks old.
It was back in January this year when she developed a cold and over several days it became worse.
Chris, who lives in St Bartholmews Lane with his wife Elizabeth, said his daughter stopped taking food, was very quiet and eventually her breathing became laboured.
He said: “We spoke to 111 and they sent for an ambulance. Liz went with her in the ambulance and when I arrived shortly afterwards she was in A&E surrounded by doctors and nurses. It was a truly terrifying moment for any parent. She was given oxygen and a canular was placed into her arm. Once stable she was taken to the Rainbow Ward where they attached her to various monitoring machines, a drip to give her fluids, oxygen forcibly pumped down her nose and a feeding tube.
“As parents we felt helpless as there was so little we could do to help her other than comfort her. We couldn’t even hold her for several days. The staff in the Rainbow Ward were amazing. They took care of Nora so well and reassured us that she was going to be OK.
“We slept in the hospital for several nights and the nurses and support staff were incredibly helpful, providing me with somewhere to sleep and food for Liz. We cannot speak highly enough of the care Nora received and the support we were given as parents.
“I want to raise funds for the Rainbow Ward to help them continue to make the ward such a friendly and supportive place for parents who find themselves in such a position as ours, having their young children in hospital. I am not a natural runner with cycling being my main sport so to run 32 miles off-road will be a huge challenge.”
Chris’ run begins with the 250 other participants from the Quay Theatre, in Sudbury, with a further 150 planning to carry out the 100k distance, which begins in Newmarket.
So far the structural surveyor, who is working on the refurbishment of the Houses of Parliament, has raised over £400 and is hopeful of reaching between £600 and £800.
He added: “Running 32 miles in a day will be a challenge for me but I’ll do it even if I have to walk part of the route.”
Sally Daniels, fundraising manager for My WiSH, wished Chris good luck and added: “The Rainbow Ward are just amazing and the staff are really grateful to have Chris doing this for them. The money really will make such a difference”.
And anyone who is keen to support him can go to his dedicated website at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/chrisruns32miles
Pictured above are Chris Steward with his daughter Nora.