There is current craze for charity mud runs, and the team at Burgess Hill-based PDP Services are about to jump on the band wagon once again this year – participating in not one but two events to raise both money and awareness for the Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation.
ECHO provides support for children and young people with heart conditions and their families, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.
One hundred per cent of ECHO’s funding comes from voluntary donations, and every penny raised by PDP will go to supporting this small charity.
PDP chose ECHO as its charity for 2016 as it remains very close to the heart of PDP’s Technical Director, Tom Fairbrother.
Tom and Rebecca’s son Lewis was born in 2014 with an undiagnosed heart defect and had to undergo unexpected complex heart surgery at just five months old.
Without the surgery and the support from the Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation he wouldn’t be the happy and outgoing child he is today.
When asked how the charity had supported his family, Tom said: “We first came across ECHO when we were in hospital with Lewis for an MRI scan and met one of their lovely volunteers.
“Every fortnight they hold a coffee morning for the families for support, advice and just to have a normal conversation.
“Many of the volunteers are parents of children born with heart defects so they know first-hand what we as parents are going through.
“There was a possibility we were going to be in over Christmas and for our daughter’s birthday, and one of our concerns was being able to spend Lewis’ first Christmas together.
“We were informed by one of the volunteers that ECHO not only provides gifts for the children on the ward but for siblings too.
“Thankfully Lewis was only in recovery for five days after his major heart surgery so we were able to spend his first Christmas at home.”
Tom went on to say: “ECHO supports families in so many ways; whether you are expecting a baby with a heart defect, you have a child who has got to undergo major heart surgery, you are a teenager who has had heart surgery as a child or whether you are a family who has lost a child - they are there for you every step of the way.”
The first of the two mud runs to be undertaken by the PDP team is the Nuts Challenge in Dorking on Saturday September 3 and the second is the Warrior Run near Brighton on Sunday October 2, with both promising to be more than a little muddy.
PDP will be wrestling with walls, swimming through swamps, dragging themselves over dirt mounds, negotiating nets and trawling through tunnels.
The money raised by PDP Services will go towards the different channels ECHO uses to help support the children and families, including a Cardiac Family Support Worker, equipment not funded by the NHS, parent-to-parent support, online forum, antenatal classes, music therapist, comfort packs, toys and crafts, emergency accommodation, bereavement support and events.
For more information on the Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation visit their website www.echo-evelina.org.uk.
If you would like to sponsor Team PDP and help them raise money please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Team-ECHO-PDP.