A DEVOTED dad is in training to take on a gruelling endurance run to raise money for the hospital department that saved his son’s life.
Ivan Hollingsworth, from Monkseaton, is in daily training sessions to prepare himself for the latest in a line of physical challenges to raise money for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).
The 34-year-old has already completed two tough Coast to Coast challenges and skied in a mankini, and is now preparing to go it alone with a gruelling 100 mile run in just 24 hours.
Ivan will set out from Eyemouth on Good Friday and will run non-stop through the night to finish at Tynemouth beach on Saturday, April 7.
The inspiration for the challenge is his three-year-old son Seb, who was born with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot.
Ivan and his wife Nadine, faced an anxious wait when Seb underwent life-saving open heart surgery at just 16 weeks old.
Since then the couple, who have set up a charity fund called Seb4Chuf, have raised more than £173,000 for the charity, with an aim of raising half a million.
“Seb passed his third birthday in January and with his condition they don’t live past two without treatment, so I am doing this to raise money and awareness for the charity CHUF,” he said.
“When you are doing a challenge and it gets so painful, you draw on what Seb has been through and the other heart children, and I try and remember that whatever pain I go through on a relatively short run, in terms of time its 24 hours, is nothing compared to the pain that those children suffer, and Seb did when he was in hospital and recovering from surgery.
“He is really what motivates me to try and do my little bit to say thank you to the people who saved his life.”
Ivan’s charity challenges are usually group efforts – and last year saw TV friend Ben Shephard help him on an epic week cycling to the coast to coast before turning round and running back, one marathon a day for five days.
But this is the first time he will take part in a challenge alone.
“I think because I’m on my own during the run I will get quite dark emotionally, but I have to think of Seb and the other heart children and just keep going,” he said.
“I felt so helpless when Seb had his surgery, but this is something that I can do to help others like him, and to say thank you to those who have helped him be here to celebrate his third birthday when he wouldn’t have been otherwise.”
To find out more visit Ivan’s blog here or follow his progress on Twitter @Seb4Chuf
To donate to CHUF text chuf99 and £1,2,3,5 or £10 to 70070