BRADFORD Teaching Hospitals’ consultant Sam Wallis is preparing to take on the world’s toughest mountain race to raise money for families whose babies are being cared for at Bradford’s Neonatal Unit.
Sam, a neonatologist at the Neonatal Unit, is taking part in the Dragon’s Back Race from 6 to 11 September to raise money for the BIG Neonatal Appeal. The appeal is being run by Bradford Hospitals’ Charity – the official NHS charity partner of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
It aims to raise more than £1million to create six extra bedrooms for parents to stay overnight, close to their babies. It will also see the creation of an additional room away from the main unit, where staff can provide compassionate care to babies at the end of life, as well as an outside space / garden where families can spend some time with their babies in the open air.
Sam sees first-hand how tough it can be for parents who must leave their babies in hospital and go home – often travelling long distances – and juggling other family commitments and work.
He said: “We look after babies who can be very sick and often spend weeks if not months on the unit. Although most of our families are from Bradford, others come from all over Yorkshire, as we are a specialist unit. Parents want and need to be close to their babies, but the babies themselves need mum and dad for feeds, cuddles and care.
“The team I work with are all so committed to delivering the best care possible, and they know that allowing parents to spend as much time as possible on the unit, as part of that team, is such an important part of that.”
The unit currently has two bedrooms for parents, and access to a further two if needed, but with up to 31 babies being cared for on the unit at any one time, this isn’t enough.
Sam has raised more than £1,200 so far for the appeal.
The Dragon’s Back Race is widely acknowledged as the world’s toughest mountain race. It starts at Conway Castle and ends at Cardiff Castle, running down the spine of Wales. It’s 380km (236 miles), with an average distance of 63km a day – that’s 1.5 marathons a day, over six days.
Sam said that while he has trained a great deal for the race, running more than 50 miles a week, he still didn’t feel like it was enough.
He said: “I’m a bit nervous, but I like a challenge and it will be a chance to see lots of remote bits of Wales. I like the idea of going all the way from the north to south coasts.”
Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “We wish Sam the best of luck in this epic challenge. It’s an incredible undertaking and we’re sure the money he raises will have a very positive impact on families for many years to come.”
Donate to Sam’s Just Giving page here.
Find out more about the BIG Neonatal Appeal here.