A father is gearing up for his latest epic challenge as he continues to thank doctors who saved his son’s life.
Ivan Hollingsworth will set off on Sunday from Whitehaven for the fourth annual fundraising Coast 2 Coast challenge – C2C4 – in aid of the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) based at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Fundraising under the ‘Seb4CHUF’ banner, Ivan is aiming to raise money for the unit who carried out emergency surgery on his son Seb’s heart when he was a baby.
The latest challenge will see Ivan and seven others cycle 75 miles from Whitehaven to Keswick, swim one mile across Derwent Water, cycle 65 miles to Alston, run 35 miles and then finish on day four with a marathon ending on Tynemouth Long Sands on Wednesday, July 24, at 4pm, where people are invited to join for a celebratory party.
Ivan is hoping to raise £20,000 to add the £311,000 already raised to rebuild the playroom and play area at Ward 23 of the Children’s Heart Unit.
Anyone who wants to sponsor Ivan should visit www.justgiving.com/seb4chuf or text ‘CHUF99’ and £5 or £10 to 70070.
The 75-mile cycle on day one will see the team – who will be joined by around 40 other volunteers along the way – cycle up two of the toughest climbs in the UK.
And after the one-mile swim on Monday, the 65-mile cycle will also include some more tough climbs, reaching heights of 3,805ft.
The final two days will see the team pounding the roads as they run 35 miles to Close House Hotel before a 26-mile run to home, stopping off half way in Newcastle city centre.
Ivan said: “I don’t want to make it too hard in case someone might breakdown or people don’t volunteer to take part, but this year its four days and we’ve twisted it slightly.”
And the recent hot weather has not put the team off, but they have stepped up their supplies.
Ivan said: “I’ve prepared for it and the heat as much as you can. I’ve been trying to get out and training in the heat and getting used to it.
“Northumbrian Water are providing us with over 400 bottles of water and Steel Cycles have given us energy solutions, drinks, gels and bars.
“We need to make sure everything is in place so people don’t cramp or get dehydrated.”
And Ivan’s inspiration along the way will be young Seb, a healthy young boy who enjoys playing rugby, swimming and dancing.
“When you look at Seb and how he is now, he’s a wonderfully healthy young boy and it seems to have captured something in people,” said Ivan.
“Personally, I get really emotional when I think about it as a Dad.
“His character is inspiring, it’s just the way he is. He’s not a victim, he’s not some poorly little child.”
He added: “We’re such a generous country for paying out to charity that people have a right to know where their money is going.
“We’re very proud that every penny we’re raising is going to this playroom and outside play area at the ward where children are treated.
“If you told me three-and-a-half years ago I’d have helped raise £311,000 I’d have told you you were insane.”