Father gears up for latest CHUF challenge

Ivan, Nadine and Seb Hollingsworth at the end of a previous Coast 2 Coast challenge.
Ivan, Nadine and Seb Hollingsworth at the end of a previous Coast 2 Coast challenge.

A father is preparing for his latest epic fundraising challenge to again support staff who saved his son’s life.

Ivan Hollingsworth, who has raised more than £400,000 in five years through Seb4CHUF, is aiming to raise enough money to pay for a specialist staff in the new playroom at the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital.

Now the playroom is up and running, I want to make sure its fully and properly staffed by the best possible people

Ivan Hollingsworth

The 40-year-old will be joined by family and friends on the sixth coast to coast challenge (C2C6), which leaves Whitehaven on Sunday.

The route features a 202-mile cycle, swim and run, finishing at Tynemouth Longsands on Wednesday, July 22.

Ivan, who’s six-year-old son Sebastian had life-saving heart surgery at the Freeman as a newborn in 2009, has spent the last five years raising money for CHUF along with his wife Nadine.

Ivan, a pharmaceutical sales manager from Monkseaton, said: “Naturally, it’s pleasing to see Seb will have a lasting legacy at the unit in the shape of the playroom, but Nadine and I owe an amazing debt of gratitude to everyone related to the heart unit.

“Now the playroom is up and running, I want to make sure its fully and properly staffed by the best possible people.

“Nothing lifts my spirits more than seeing poorly children’s faces light up when they get the chance to be a normal child, even for just a short period, in that playroom.”

“That’s why there was never any question, even after we’d funded the playroom, that we’d continue to raise funds for CHUF.”

Dr Richard Kirk, a consultant paediatric cardiologist and transplant physician at the Freeman Hospital, said: “Ivan’s determination to continue with his coast to coast challenges is inspiring in so many ways.

“I know a number of the ward team, many of whom cared for Sebastian at the time, have been inspired to join Ivan for the final day of C2C6 to also help raise funds this year.

“Being able to add qualified, experienced and skilled staff to the existing play team gives us the opportunity to continue to provide holistic care that caters for all the child’s needs.

“The play specialists carry out incredibly important roles in helping children understand and accept medical procedures including life-saving heart operations and make the long wait for a transplant and the recovery more bearable. We wish Ivan and those joining him on C2C6 every success.”

Chris Gray, head of fundraising for CHUF, said: “Nobody would have thought any less of the Hollingsworth family had they chosen to complete their fundraising efforts for CHUF after the opening of the playroom at the end of last summer.

“Instead, they’ve chosen to continue to do all they can to carry on assisting with CHUF’s vision to help more children achieve their dreams. They’re an inspiration to everyone connected to CHUF and to the Children’s Heart Unit.”

Ivan added: “I’ve always said there is no such thing as inspirational people. Just ordinary people choosing to do inspirational things. I’m just happy that I’ve been able to inspire others to take action too.”

Those wishing to donate can text CHUF99 followed by £5, £10 or £20 to 70070.

Any potential corporate sponsors should visit www.seb4chuf.org.uk where they can contact Ivan directly.