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Putting his best foot forward

Marc Skelton family pictureA Coventry schoolteacher is putting his best foot forward to race the London Marathon and raise funds for a local neonatal charity which supported his family.

First-time dad Marc Skelton, from Earlsdon, has been inspired to compete in the London Marathon to fundraise for the Grace Research Fund after his daughter received expert care and support in the neonatal unit at University Hospital Coventry.

His daughter, Lucy, was born full term but suffered complications during labour which left her starved of oxygen and with no heartbeat when she was born.

Over the next eight days, staff on the unit gave Lucy critical support as she received cooling treatment and a blood transfusion, and was induced into a coma for three days while her recovery was closely monitored..

Now, Lucy is 10 months old and healthy and Marc wanted to pay thanks to the hospital for his family’s positive experience by dusting down his trainers in aid of the Grace Research Fund – a Coventry and Warwickshire charity which funds research into the best forms of neonatal care and premature births.

The 33-year-old, who until a year and a half ago had not run or trained in over 15 years, will be taking part in the London Marathon on Sunday, April 24 – and is already running between 30 and 40 miles each week in preparation.

“This is mine and my family’s way of giving back to staff and the hospital for the fantastic experience we had while on the ward,” he said.

Photo: Marc, Lucy and Abi Skelton

“Whilst I’ve run in the past, I’ve never competed in anything as long and gruelling as a marathon, so I knew the London Marathon would be a meaningful but high-profile challenge that would help me raise a significant amount for the Grace Research Fund.

“Although training conditions can be tough at times, what spurs me on is the memory of how well Lucy and her mum, Abi, were supported during their time on the unit, as well as throughout the follow-up consultations we had for several months afterwards.

“They were a real calming influence during what was a very difficult and stressful time and without their help Lucy would not be the perfect and healthy toddler she is now.

“Friends and family have all been really supportive of the challenge I’m taking on as they believe it’s important to support smaller, local causes – especially one which we have a personal affiliation with – so I’m hoping to raise several hundred pounds.”

Dr Andrew Coe, consultant paediatrician at University Hospital, said: “It is so pleasing and rewarding to see Lucy so healthy and lively after the complications she experienced during her birth.

“We are always grateful to families of patients who choose to support the Grace Research Fund in their fundraising efforts and with Marc already training so hard, I’ve no doubts he’ll sail to the finishing line and raise valuable funds for a very worthy cause.”

Anyone wishing to support Marc’s efforts and make a donation can do so at:

Wed 16 March 2016, 09:51