Adderstone Foundation sponsors gruelling Coast to Coast event for children’s heart unit

In 2011, Adderstone Foundation supported Seb4CHUF, a campaign set up by parents Nadine and Ivan Hollingsworth to raise money for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. The campaign was in recognition of the support the charity gave to their son Seb who had to undergo emergency heart surgery at just 16 weeks old due to a complex heart condition.

Since Seb’s operation Ivan and Nadine have vowed to keep fundraising to ensure the continuation of the lifesaving work of the medics and support teams at the Freeman Hospital’s heart unit. Ivan has undergone several physical feats in order to raise funds, including skiing down a mountain in a mankini, running 100 miles in less than 24 hours as well as countless marathons and half marathon events.

In 2011 Adderstone Foundation sponsored their annual Coast to Coast challenge which was in its second year at the time. Not content with simply repeating the previous year’s coast to coast route, they decide to double the task by cycling from East to West and running back again – a total of 280 miles!

The event took place over seven days, Ivan’s childhood friend and TV presenter, Ben Shephard joining the team of eight fundraisers. Ivan’s son, Seb also joined the dedicated athletes as he was driven along the route in a specialist support car, provided by Richard Hardie Motors and sponsored by Adderstone Foundation.

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On Thursday 28th July 2011 they set off from Tynemouth, cycling for two days to reach Whitehaven via Alston. Tired and saddle-sore, the participants then faced the ultimate test of five marathons in five days to get back to the North East. Ivan also decided to wear a different superhero costume each day on the five-marathon run back, saying “The superhero costumes are my way of trying to symbolise what I think of children like Seb and the others in the unit.”

On Saturday 30th July they ran via Keswick, Carlisle, Haltwhistle and Hexham before finally reaching Tynemouth on Wednesday 3rd August. Unfortunately after taking a wrong turn on their route, the athletes had an extra hour added onto the gruelling marathon challenge.

Ben Shepard commented: “When you pass a sign which says ‘Carlisle 13 miles’, run for an hour and then pass a sign that says ‘Carlisle 13.5 miles’, you know there is something wrong… It has been brutal but when you get a welcome like we did in Carlisle it makes it worthwhile.”

20 additional runners joined them for the finish, running from Close House Hotel in Northumberland to Longsands Beach at Tynemouth. The total raised by the end of the challenge was £94,500, just shy of their £120,000 target.

More recently in 2014, Ivan and Nadine have managed to get their total fundraising to over £418,000 and this has enabled them to build a specialist play room and outdoor area for ill children in the North East. The play facility, which includes technologically-advanced indoor and outdoor equipment, covers 3,649 square-foot space.

Ivan said: “I’m so excited to have finally reached this day where we get to see the results of a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears from everybody involved with Seb4Chuf. Thinking about this day finally arriving has served as my inspiration for some very dark days in my family’s life over the last four or five years.

“I have this unit to thank that my son Seb is here at all. It’s testament to the care, dedication and skills of everyone here that one of their own heart patients is fit and healthy enough to be officially opening the new facility this morning. He’s a very excited young boy. It’s humbling to think we’ve raised enough to completely fund this entire unit.”

Find out more about Seb4CHUF here: http://www.seb4chuf.org.uk/