A Greater Manchester bereaved father is set to run from Yorkshire to Chorley, in order to raise funds for the children’s hospice that cared for his daughter.
Jack Dodd, 35, of Warrington, will run 62 miles – from Harrogate to Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley – in just one day on Saturday, 27 May.
The marathon run will raise money 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.
Now Jack wants to raise £3,000 to enable the charity to help more families in the future.
Jack said: “We made many happy memories with Ellissa at the hospice – splashing in the hydrotherapy pool, playing in the gardens, watching films in the cinema. It meant we could do normal things as a family but be more in control of what was going on in a safe environment. They gave us so much support during Ellissa’s life.
“Ellissa was such an amazing little person, so full of life and even with everything she had to go through she was still our little ray of sunshine. Even though she couldn’t talk she still communicated in her own way and made such a huge impact on everyone she knew and taught us all so much in life.
“When Ellissa passed away she spent time in one of the hospice’s cold rooms. It meant that we could still visit her and spend a final few moments with her. That was incredibly important to us as a family. The hospice has always been there for us when we needed it, and even now we’re still helped by them with counselling sessions and support.”
Jack will be joined on his mega marathon by close friends Rich Sharpe and James Limbert and hopes to raise awareness of the support Ellissa and his family received during her life.
“I have wanted to do something to raise money for Derian House for a while, and now seems like the perfect time. They were always there for our family – it’s an amazing place. I just want to raise as much as I can for families like ours.
“The challenge is going to be extremely difficult for us. Some of us have done marathons before but this is on another level. We’re all looking forward to it and we are excited to put ourselves to the test. We’ve been training since November and the training has been a big commitment for us all but it’s all going to be worth it. We’ll set off from Harrogate, ending at Derian House, the place that holds so many memories and has done so much for our family.”
Kerry Pritchard, Community Fundraiser at Derian House, said: “Jack is so brave to take on such an enormous challenge that will not only raise vital funds to care for families like his – but will also raise awareness of what we do and the impact it has.
“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.”
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