A family from Whitley Bay, Newcastle is taking on a virtual Great North Run challenge to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust, the charity that supported them while their youngest was in hospital.
Kate Blakely along with her husband Matt, daughter Matilda, nine, and son Harry, two, will all be running at least one of the 13.1 mile distance with help from close friends and family making up the rest of the mileage.
Kate and Matt were due to take part in the world’s largest half marathon before it was cancelled, but the family will now take part in The Sick Children’s Trust’s virtual event, My GNR, in a relay style.
The family wanted to give back to the charity after it supported them with a free place to stay just minutes away from Harry’s bedside while he received treatment at Newcastle’s Freemen Hospital. During a scan it was discovered that Harry had a heart condition (transposition of the great arteries) affecting his two main heart valves which were connected to the opposite arteries.
Shortly after being born, Harry underwent heart surgery. During his surgery and recovery The Sick Children’s Trust gave them a place to stay at its ‘Home from Home’ Scott House which made sure they were never far his side. Kate said:
“We stayed at Scott House for ten days while Harry recovered from his operation and it was such an amazing place. The ‘Home from Home’ allowed us to stay with Harry on the ward for as long as he needed us as we only had a short walk back to our room.
“It took away all the stress of having to travel in rush hour or worry about what was happening back at home. We could be back with him instantly. Alongside giving us a place to stay, Scott House was a place Harry’s older sister Matilda could also come and stay at times too, so it kept us all together as a family. Harry has a check up every year but he is a happy, healthy two year old and doing great.
“Matt has completed the Great North Run many times before and I have always wanted to do it, so this year I pushed myself to sign up. The Sick Children’s Trust is so vital to the families they support with seriously ill children in hospital which is why we decided to take part in My GNR after the event was cancelled. After mentioning it to our friends, who are all enthusiastic runners, we decided to do the 13.1 miles as a relay team with everyone, running for a mile each to complete the distance.”
The Sick Children’s Trust does not charge families to stay at one of its ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country, however it does cost the charity £30 to support a family for one night. £30 gives them a warm a comfortable place to stay and a friendly ear to listen. Alexia Addis, Regional Fundraising Officer, said:
“This is a wonderful way for Kate and Matt to still take part in the Great North Run and it’s great to see the whole family getting involved, especially Matilda and Harry.
“As a charity we rely entirely on the generosity our supporters to run our ‘Homes from Home’ as well as big events such as the Great North Run, which is why we cannot thank everyone enough who is taking part in Kate’s relay and My GNR to help raise vital funds.”
You can find out more details about Kate’s fundraiser and donate on her Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/team/Teamharrybob