THURROCK and South Essex residents are being asked to keep an eye out today (Monday, 6 May) and tomorrow for a fundraiser jogging through the region on his way to Belgium.
Damian Rees is travelling by foot from his home in Rugby to the World Beard and Moustache Championships which are being held this year in Antwerp.
He is undertaking the 300 mile journey as a way to raise funds for
the neonatal unit at the University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire, where the lives of his sister’s children, Luke and Eva, were saved.
Damian says: “Just over four years ago my niece and nephew were brought into this world three months too soon and they almost didn’t make it.
“Today they are the most beautiful, interesting and loving kids an uncle could wish for (for like two hours at a time tops – anymore than that is hard work!)
“They bring so much joy to so many people. Our family and anyone that knows them have all benefited so much from Luke and Eva getting through their harrowingly traumatic tough times and making it to become the amazing little people they are today.
“I wanted to give back to the unit who gave so much professional attention and love, not only to those babies but my sister, family and all the other babies that sadly do not make it.
“I know my sister experienced the fear everyday that she may get woken up to the news that they hadn’t make it. We were the lucky ones and feel so much for those that been affected by those who didn’t make it.
“I visited an open day in remembrance and celebration of everyone that comes and goes at the neonatal unit. The staff there are so courageous to deal with so many highs and lows on a daily basis. They deserve recognition and all of the support/technology that we can afford.
“Going deep and really honest, I believe humans can learn to cope with the idea of older people passing when their time is up. I’m not saying that is easy but on most occasions It can be understood and accepted.
“So for anyone to see or experience the premature death of such innocent babies is a tragic and traumatic event. We were lucky in that we didn’t experience it.
“But so many families do. And the staff there see it more times than anyone should have to in a lifetime. They are real strong and caring people to do that job. It shouldn’t cost money to run these units and save these babies but unfortunately in this modern world where everyone at the top wants to make money for something then that means it does cost money, so please consider a donation If you can.
“I am not a runner by any stretch of the imagination but I know my mindset will carry me to the finish line as I jog the distance of a marathon each day. If Luke&Eva can keep going through their adversities then I can get to Antwerp on my own two feet. (oh and one ferry)…”
You can read more about damian or donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/uncledamo4show