Dedicated dads to walk for days to raise thousands for baby charity

Iain and Ella Innes, right, with James and Archie Smith, left.

Iain and Ella Innes, right, with James and Archie Smith, left.

First published in News by

A father is walking from London to Norwich to give back to the charity whose funding helped save his baby girl.

Iain Innes, 36, and friend of 23 years, James Smith, 36, decided on the four-day-walk, for children’s medical research charity, Sparks, over a drink in the pub.

Mr Innes’ daughter, Ella, was starved of oxygen at birth and did not take her first unassisted breath for six minutes.

The youngster, now eight months old, was treated with a cooling suit funded by the charity Sparks at St George’s Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Now the dedicated dads are hoping to raise £3,000 by taking to two feet for the epic walk starting on Thursday, May 8.

"When you go through something like that you feel you have to do something to raise awareness," Mr Innes, of Clarence Road, Wimbledon, said.

Mr Innes said they did not have the early memories most parents have, with his partner Catherine Simmonds only able to give her baby a cuddle the day after she was born.

They then spent five days at her bedside.

He said: "It was quite a whirlwind. We didn’t really know what to expect. It was such a stressful time."

"Now she is a very happy baby.

"This is what it’s all about.

"We’re raising money for Sparks so they can fund more innovative research and make a lasting difference to babies and families, just like they’ve done for us," said Mr Innes.

He said training had been tough but the Norwich City fans will reward themselves for their feat by attending the Norwich versus Arsenal game when they arrive on the Sunday, May 11.

Sparks is now funding the next stage of the cooling treatment, using it in combination with xenon gas, with initial trials showing it will help even more babies.

Helen Farquharson, Sparks south east regional fundraiser said "We are enormously inspired by Ella’s story and the challenge Iain is undertaking."

To sponsor them visit the website.

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