Marathon effort in aid of hospital wards – Berwick Advertiser

By daniellenierenberg

Alyssa Mulvey in the Great North Children's Hospital at the RVI.

The total brought in by the man who walked 21 laps around Elizabethan walls earlier this month reached 2,000 earlier this week.

He was accompanied by Stewart Brown for the whole 26.2-mile marathon distance and family, friends and other supporters did some of the laps during the event in aid of wards in the Great North Children's Hospital (GNCH) at the RVI in Newcastle.

On his fund-raising page, Derek who lives in Highcliffe, Spittal specifically mentioned two local girls from Berwick (Alyssa Mulvey and Kelis Bloomfield) who are currently receiving treatment at the GNCH.

Alyssa has been poorly since birth and was diagnosed with A20 haploinsufficiency, a very rare auto-immune condition, when she was 10.

She has been on ward 3, a bone marrow transplant ward that deals with children who were born with zero immune systems or severe immune conditions. She had recovered well from a stem cell transplant last year, using stem cells donated by her dad Shane, but then contracted Covid-19.

Fortunately, Alyssa made an excellent recovery. However, a check-up weeks later revealed her blood pressure was extremely high and tests found that she had a serious kidney disease called thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA).

Although the condition was not caused by Covid-19, medics believe the virus ignited it in her system and that it had been dormant beforehand. She has now been at the GNCH for 21 consecutive weeks.

Kelis receives treatment on ward 2a. She has eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), which is a chronic allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus. She is allergic to things such as grass and pollen, which can cause respiratory failure.

Ward 2a specialises in respiratory and long-term ventilation, and diabetes.

Derek has previously supported the GNCH by doing the Great North Run half marathon his way of giving back to the team who saved the life of his daughter, Saskia, in 2018.

As the run was not held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, he still wanted to do something in 2020 and so came up with the local challenge, which took place earlier this month before the extra local and national restrictions were announced.

He said: We set off just before 6am and after 8am, Deva (his wife) and Saskia joined us and walked the opposite way. Friends and supporters did some of the laps with us.

"We kept a brisk pace and when we had a break, we had a bacon roll and coffee courtesy of The Mule on Rouge.

"Many of the visitors on the day asked us why were doing the walk and a combination of visitors, friends and supporters saw a lot of people put money into the charity bucket that we had with us when we counted it later, the total in it was 255.

In the afternoon, Deva and Saskia completed half marathon distance and with six laps to go we were joined by the Plundering Pirates of the North East, dressed in costume, who raised money for their own charities. The last lap was done with Stewarts wife Amanda and their children, Mathew and Mia. Me and Stewart were pleased to complete the marathon distance in 10 hours.

Also thanks to all those who have donated online gf.me/u/yny5p2 its great that Ill be giving more than 1,000 to the two wards.

Alyssas mum Kirstie said that her daughter, 14, has infusions meds going in through a central line every day and has the dialysis procedure four to five times a week.

In relation to Dereks fund-raising, she said: He is amazing and we think he is an absolute superhero for helping to raise funds for and awareness of these wards.

The money will be vital for them because they are not as well known as others such as the cancer wards.

Other support for Alyssa and her family includes Kirsties best friend Julie Newton organising a raffle (1,000) and piping events on Thursday evenings at Mordington Avenue until last week (about 700 in total from the bucket donations each week).

Denise Lody from Facebook group Isolation Berwick upon Tweed and Surrounding Area set-up a GoFundMe page that raised 2,651.

Sean Ryan and Dave Smith of 2SPT raised 2,623.55 by running private physical training sessions through the lockdown period.

Further funds came from a beautiful cake raffled by Ashley McKnight and Berwick landscape postcards sold by Julie.

Kirstie said: The response has been unbelievable. Alyssa said to me why are they doing this for me, but I reminded her of how brave she is and told her how much people love her and they wanted to show just how much they care.

We were unable to speak in depth with Kelis mum Stacey, but she did send us a message that said: What Derek has done for these wards is absolutely amazing.

"Kelis has helped out by doing an online raffle, which raised 70 to the cause.

Originally posted here:
Marathon effort in aid of hospital wards - Berwick Advertiser

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