Doctor to run 250km through Sahara for St George's Hospital charity
7:00am Sunday 3rd March 2013 in News
A GP will be running through 113F heat in the Sahara next month to raise money for a charity attached to the St George's Hospital neonatal unit which saved the lives of his twin boys.
Dr Simon Vickers, who works at the Francis Grove Surgery, in Wimbledon, is the father of twins, Alex and Ben, who developed a potentially fatal condition at birth last year.
To help raise funds for the charity, the 36-year-old is going to take part in the gruelling Marathon Des Sables race, dubbed the "toughest foot race on the planet".
Competitors must complete the 250km run in six days in punishing desert heat while carrying their own kit and food - the only supplies not provided are water and a tent.
Last year the boys were born by emergency caesarean section after just 29 weeks and developed severe twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a rare condition which affects identical twin pregnancies.
They were treated at the neonatal intensive care unit at St George’s Hospital for 35 days but astonishingly defied the odds and made a complete recovery.
The father-of-two will be competing in the race with two friends, Tom Day, Dan Burdett, and hopes to raise £5,000 for the charity He said: "First Touch funded much of the equipment used to save the twins' lives, and provided my wife and I with vital emotional support through the rollercoaster of highs and lows that premature babies go through.
"While we will never be able to repay the debt we owe the NHS for the health of the twins, we hope to at least show our appreciation.
"We have each done long, crazy races in the past; between us we have completed 4 Ironman triathlons and over 40 marathons, but this is by far the hardest race we have ever attempted, and we are genuinely quite scared."
The twins will be one year old on April 4 - the same day the brave trio leave for the desert.
To sponsor Dr Vickers visit www.justgiving.com/SiTomDan