Brother’s take on marathon challenge in support of The Sick Children’s Trust

Ian and Paul Picken will be lacing up their running shoes and taking on the London Marathon to raise vital funds to support our 'Homes from Home'

Two brothers are lacing up their running shoes and taking on the London Marathon to raise money to support The Sick Children’s Trust.

Ian and Paul Picken will be taking to the capital’s streets on 21 April to raise funds in memory of Ian’s daughter Seren. At seven weeks old Seren became seriously ill with a rare genetic mitochondrial disorder, suffering from seizures and sleep apnoea while also struggling to keep her feeds down.

Needing specialist treatment, she was transferred from Colchester to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where she was intubated, put on life support and admitted to the intensive care unit. Sadly, Seren passed away days later but during her time at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Ian and his wife, Katie, were support by The Sick Children’s Trust and its ‘Home from Home’, Acorn House.

Acorn House is located on the hospital site and supported Ian and Katie with a place to stay just minutes away from Seren’s side, rather than the couple having to travel over an hour from their home in Colchester every day. The family have been eternally grateful for the charity’s support, previously organising a fundraising walk which over 100 people attended as well as Ian and Paul completing a cycle from Wales to Essex with their friends and family raising over £35,000 for the charity.

Being no strangers to a physical challenge, the brothers are now taking on their next fundraiser to support The Sick Children’s Trust by taking part in the London Marathon. Ian said:

“Being told we had a place to stay at Acorn House gave us the biggest amount of relief. At the time we had no idea how long Seren was going to be in hospital, so to have somewhere that was a warm, safe space in a non-clinical environment was such a huge support. To have a somewhere we could look after ourselves, get some rest, make some food and then come back stronger for Seren was really important.

“While we’ve done physical challenges before this is the first long distance run Paul and I have ever done. Neither of us would say we’re runners but we wanted to challenge ourselves and encourage further fundraising for this brilliant charity. It’s fantastic having Paul doing the marathon with me. We’ve been supporting each other throughout our training which has kept us motivated and I’m really looking forward to the big day.

“Having our friends and family come down on the day and knowing why we’re running we’ll keep pushing us on to each milestone until we complete the marathon.”

Paul has supported Ian’s previous fundraisers, a trend he was keen to continue after Ian signed up to do the London Marathon. He added:

“I love challenging myself so as soon as Ian mentioned that he was taking on the marathon it put the idea in my head that I could do it with him. While I only got my place in November my training has been going really well and I’m excited for the run.

“It’s 100% helped to have Ian doing this with me, to swap tips and keep each other motivated. He’s not just my brother, he’s my best friend so it’s a great support to have someone who fully knows how you’re feeling throughout this journey. That’s why we started our podcast together, Sweat, Tears and Resilience to talk about our running journey to help other people who might be taking on a marathon as well as Ian talking about his personal experience when Seren was in hospital and how much The Sick Children’s Trust supported him.

“The support The Sick Children’s Trust gives to families of seriously ill children is invaluable and I saw that first hand with Ian and Acorn House. I’m willing to do anything I can to help this charity to continue supporting families and I’ll always fundraise to thank them for helping our family.”

Ian and Paul will join the 12 other runners taking on the London Marathon to fundraise for The Sick Children’s Trust’s and its ten ‘Homes from Home’, which support families from across the country while their children are seriously ill in hospital.

More information about Ian’s fundraising can be found on his Just Giving page

More information about Paul’s fundraising can be found here

Listen to the Sweat, Tears and Resilience podcast by searching on Apple Music and Spotify.

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