Forest Fitness in Carrickfergus is hosting a fun run this weekend in aid of premature and vulnerable baby charity, TinyLife.
The Santa Family Fun Run will take place on Sunday (December 1) and will feature a circuit of inflatables, forest obstacles and lots of mud.
TinyLife Community Fundraiser, Sarah Wilson, said: “The 3k circuit can be completed as a run or walk and the event is open to adults and children five years plus, with those under 16 accompanied by an adult. Participants are warned it will get muddy on the journey and to dress for mess!”
Over 2000 babies are born too soon, too small or too sick in Northern Ireland. Some arrive as early as 24 weeks, weighing as little as 1lb - the same weight as half a bag of sugar.
At this understandably very stressful time for parents, TinyLife is there to provide practical advice, emotional support and to give a helping hand to families who have a baby in a neonatal intensive care unit, with their network of Family Support professionals in every neonatal unit across Northern Ireland.
Forest Fitness owner, Lea Vaughan is a huge supporter of TinyLife, especially the charity’s Positive Minds for Premature Parents programme, which encourages mums and dads to speak out about their feelings during the difficult times of premature birth.
The local man explained why the charity is very close to his heart. "Back in 2003 Alice and I were over the moon when Alice fell pregnant," he said, "Everything seemed normal until the 12 week scan revealed fluid behind our baby’s neck and head, an indication of Turner or Down’s syndrome. But we still had hope that things would be ok.
"A roller coaster of emotions for the weeks to follow with disaster at week 24 when the scan revealed our baby’s heart had stopped beating. The post mortem revealed she had a rare fatal genetic disorder call Pena Shokeir Syndrome, with a 99.9% chance of the fetus dying in the womb. We were devastated.
"But we didn’t give up hope. Alice gave birth to our son Gavin who is now 14 years old! Then we went on to have another baby girl, Jessica, now ten years old and our family unit was complete. We never gave up or lost hope. TinyLife is there to support and help people through these tough times.”
If you would like to take part and raise sponsorship to help TinyLife continue to provide their Family Support Services here in Northern Ireland, then sign up with friends or bring the family.
Registration is £12.50 per adult and £7.50 per child. A family ticket is £35 (maximum of 4).
Contact the charity by phone on Belfast 028 9081 5050 or book online at https://www.tickettailor.com/events/tinylife