A devoted dad is taking on the toughest physical challenge of his life to raise funds for a hospital charity which helped out when his baby son was born with severe breathing difficulties.
Jason Lawes, 27, will take part in the Tough Mudder endurance event at Dalkeith near Edinburgh next month, where he aims to raise £1,000 for the Sick Children’s Trust.
It is a 13-mile obstacle course that involves participants crawling through underground mud tunnels, overcoming fire and ice water baths, dodging 10,000 volts of electricity, scaling 12ft-high walls and negotiating monkey bars and rope bridges.
Jason, a concrete company plant manager from Tweedmouth in Berwick, is raising money for the Sick Children’s Trust as a thank you for the support the charity gave him following the birth of his son Fynley in November 2011.
He and his ex-partner Natalie – Fynley’s mum – stayed at Crawford House, the charity’s “home from home” at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, for a week after the little boy’s arrival.
Fynley had major breathing problems when he was born at Wansbeck Hospital in Ashington. It took him 15 minutes to take his first breath, and doctors suspected the long period of time without oxygen might have caused brain damage.
They decided that to prevent the risk of further complications, Fynley should be transferred to the RVI for specialist cooling treatment, aimed at slowing down the rate of any cell damage in the brain.
A cooling cap was placed on his head for four days and his worried parents were not allowed to pick him up for a week. Throughout that time Jason and Natalie were able to stay in Crawford House free of charge, so they could be with Fynley constantly and not have to stay in a hotel or make 120-mile round trips from Berwick.
Yesterday Jason said: “Fynley is 18 months old now and doing really well. He seems to be hitting all his milestones so I would like to thank this wonderful charity that really helped us when we needed them most.
“We were so far away from home and we really didn’t want to leave Fynley’s side. Without them, the difficult situation we were in would have been a lot worse.”
Jason, a bodybuilding enthusiast, has lost a stone and a half to get in shape for the Tough Mudder challenge, which he is taking on with three friends.
“The average time to complete the course is between three and four hours and I’m going to try to do it in two. I’ve never done anything like this before but it’s something I want to challenge myself with and also raise ï¿½1,000 for the Sick Children’s Trust,” he said.
Gail Stonley, manager of Crawford House, said: “We are so glad to hear that Fynley is now doing well. Jason is very brave to take part in this challenge and we are so grateful to him for fundraising for us.”
The charity runs eight homes at six major children’s hospitals across the UK.
Anyone who wants to sponsor Jason can visit www.justgiving.com/Jason-Lawes