Father takes on 18 grueling endurance challenges for children’s charity

by Angie Muzyka

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

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A COMMITTED father has vowed to complete 18 lung-bursting challenges this year for the charity which lifted his daughter’s spirits during her toughest periods of treatment.

Chris Rhodes, 41, has taken on the incredible #18for18 challenge to raise funds for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC).

The self-employed architect from East Linton, East Lothian, decided to challenge himself in 2018 after being inspired by the charity’s work while his daughter, Sophie, 10, underwent hospital treatment.

Sophie fell ill just before Christmas 2017 with acute appendicitis and was rushed into The Royal Hospital for Sick Children (RHSC) and Chris saw first-hand the amazing role ECHC plays to ensure youngsters can be a child first and a patient second.

Chris said: “It all happened so fast. From an emergency doctor’s appointment about stomach pain, to rushing to A&E and having our little girl on the operating table all within 24 hours, it was an extremely worrying time.

“Following the operation, Sophie felt really poorly and it was evident that her recovery was going to take a while.

“Sophie was so quiet and too ill to even listen to music or watch movies. She just wasn’t our little feisty red-haired girl, full of chat and character that we’re all used to.

“Hospitals are not often associated with positive experiences, however, we were immediately proven wrong thanks to the incredible support we received from ECHC.

“The Play Team made such a huge difference. They were so attentive and constantly smiling, trying to make her play. They always managed to lift her spirits up, even if it was just through something as simple as blowing bubbles in the room and getting her to pop them with her feet and hands to get her moving again, I actually get very emotional just thinking about it again.”

To show his gratitude, Chris has decided upon the #18for18 challenge which combines his determination to get fitter with the goal to raise money for ECHC.

He has completed eight obstacle courses to date, including Tough Mudder, Edinburgh’s Toughest, Red Bull Neptune Steps, Tartan Warrior and Rat Race Runstock.

In addition to the obstacle courses, Chris is trying to run 1,000km in a year and attends various 5K and 10K runs in-between his challenge course events.

He trains at least three times a week, playing football and going for regular runs as well as volunteering as an athletics coach for two local clubs.

Chris added: “Summer time will be an intense period for me as this is when most obstacle courses take place. But I’m loving every minute of it. It’s a lot easier to dig deep at these events when you know there is a good cause behind you and everyone has been so encouraging.

“Our time in RHSC made us extremely grateful for the extra little things that we just never expected.

“It is wonderful to see in action the subtle but tangible influence ECHC’s efforts have on a daily basis. It really does make a significant difference to the children and us parents.”

Sue Diamond, Community Fundraising Manager at ECHC, said: “Chris is a real-life action hero.  His challenge takes huge commitment, organisation and effort and we would like to express our thanks to him and all those who are supporting him to do this.

“The funds Chris raises will help to ensure other children can have a more positive experience of hospital, just like his daughter Sophie did.”

Chris’s fundraising target for the year is £2,018 and he has so far reached £650.

Aside from providing support to the RHSC, ECHC works with various partners across East and Central Scotland, such as St John’s Hospital in Livingston.

To donate or find out more about Chris’ fundraising efforts, visit: https://give.everydayhero.com/uk/18for18

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