On a blazing hot day, a bereaved father ran from Yorkshire to Chorley to raise money for the children’s hospice that cared for his daughter.
With a group of close friends, Jack Dodd, 35, of Warrington set off from Harrogate in the early hours of Saturday, 27 May on a 62-mile journey to Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley.
Despite the heat and some horrific blisters, the group made it to the hospice after a gruelling 15 hours and were met by huge cheers from friends and family.
Jack’s mega-marathon raised an incredible £8,000 for the charity that looked after his seven-year-old Ellissa Dodd, known as “Boo Boo” to her family, who died in hospital in October last year after living with the rare condition FoxG1 for most of her life.
Ellissa laid at rest in one of Derian House Children’s Hospice cold “Sunflower Rooms” giving her parents more time to say goodbye.
The hospice provided a pillar of support for Ellissa and her dad Jack, mum Liz, and siblings Sophia and Charlie throughout her short life.
Jack raised more than double the amount he had hoped and is still accepting donations – this will enable the charity to help more families in the future.
Jack said: “It was extremely tough and difficult to keep going at times. It was a very hot day, which didn’t make it easy, and some of the guys ended up with some horrific blisters. But we had a lot of good banter throughout and kept each other’s spirits up. We knew we were doing it for Ellissa – that’s what kept us going more than anything.
“A big group of family and friends were there to cheer us on at the finish line – it was fantastic. We actually managed to sprint the last stretch. We were so over the moon when we had done it – and very glad to be able to finally sit down!
“Thank you so much to everyone who has donated so far – it means a lot to us all and will go towards helping families like ours. We made many happy memories with Ellissa at the hospice – splashing in the hydrotherapy pool, playing in the gardens, watching films in the cinema. We are so pleased – we didn’t think we would raise such an amazing amount.”
Jack was joined on his mega marathon by friends Rich Sharpe, James Limbert, and Chris Riddell as well as work friends Rob Walsh, Andrew Livesy, and Lewis Moss.
Kerry Pritchard, Community Fundraiser at Derian House, said: “What an incredible achievement for Jack and everyone who took part! The challenge has raised an amazing amount that will go towards care for families like Jack’s.
“While care is free for families, it will cost £6million to run services at Derian House in 2023. We rely on the generosity of our kind-hearted supporters – like Jack – for 70p in every £1.”
You can still sponsor Jack’s challenge for Ellissa: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jack-dodd3
Derian House, based in Chorley, cares for more than 400 babies, children, young people and their families from across the North West and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Find out more: www.derianhouse.co.uk