A DEDICATED dad completed an epic marathon feat at the weekend to raise thousands of pounds for the hospital that saved the life of his son.
Ivan Hollingsworth took on a unique challenge of running 100 miles non-stop in just 24 hours to raise funds for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund, Chuf, at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
The 34-year-old ran through the night from Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders, finishing at Tynemouth beach on Saturday morning – and has now raised more than £185,000 for the fund.
Ivan and wife Nadine’s son Seb was just 16 weeks old when he had to undergo surgery for a heart defect.
Diagnosed with tetralogy of falot, Sebastian is now three and doing well, but his parents set up Seb4Chuf to raise money to say thank you to the unit that saved his life.
Speaking after completing the run, Ivan said: “It was the hardest and most painful thing I’ve ever taken on, and it required me to search deep inside myself, but the pain I have got through is nothing compared to watch these chidlren go through.
“I’ve stopped running, so my pain will end, but try spending 24 hours watching your child in intensive care, that’s rough, this isn’t rough.
“There are parents now who are going through the pain and that is why I have to do this.
“I would rather run for 24 hours than spend 24 hours in intensive care with my child.
“What I have done is nothing in comparison to what some parents at the heart unit have to go through.”
Ivan set out on Good Friday and ran without sleep to get the emotional reunion with Nadine and Seb on Tynemouth beach on Saturday morning, where well-wishers had turned out to see him finish.
“About 3am was the worst for me. I felt so low and it was so dark there was nothing to aim for in the horizon so I just had to keep going but it was very hard,” he said.
“Knowing we have now raised £185,000 does help with the pain.”
To donate text Chuf99 and £1, £2, £3, £5, or £10 to 70070.
Find out more on the charity by visiting www.seb4chuf.org.uk