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Registration for the South Coast Challenge closes on Monday 14 August and Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice is urging anybody interested in the event to sign up and raise vital funds for the charity.
The challenge takes place over the weekend of 26 and 27 August, and involves walking, running or jogging along the coastal path and South Downs Way between Eastbourne and Arundel. Participants can choose from 25, 50 or 100km routes and will be fully supported throughout the challenge.
Tom Underhill, from Brighton, is taking on the 50km challenge for Chestnut Tree House with his sister Kerry Underhill. He is passionate about raising money for the hospice after they cared for him and his partner after the loss of their son Bobby, who was born sleeping on 21 December 2016.
“I really don’t know what would have happened if Chestnut Tree House hadn’t been there,” he explains. “We were all over the place after Becky gave birth but Chestnut Tree House came to see us at the hospital, explained all of our options and then provided a place for Bobby to stay over Christmas. They gave us the opportunity to spend time with him and to do the things we needed to in order to say goodbye. Christmas Day is also my birthday and I really just wanted to see him, so they opened up specially and allowed me to go and have a drink with my son.”
The couple have a special stone for Bobby in the memorial garden at Chestnut Tree House and attended a memorial event during the summer. “It was hard to go back to the House, but it was also good to meet others in the same situation and to be able to talk about what happened.”
For Tom the South Coast Challenge will be extra tough as he is suffering from renal failure. He has haemodialysis 3 times a week, constantly feels tired and has to limit the amount of fluid he can have during the day. “I’m pretty sure I can do it, but I know it will be tough towards the end,” he says. “I really just want to support Chestnut Tree House and the great work they do – not just for children but for adults and families too. We were amazed at the support they offered us when we didn’t have a clue what was happening, and the fact that they came to us rather than us going to them really made all the difference.”
Anybody taking on the South Coast Challenge for Chestnut Tree House will receive a discount of 20% on the entry fee, you can find out more by clicking here. If you would like to sponsor Tom in his challenge you can visit his Just Giving page.