Michael Winter, 29, and two friends, Daniel Corkhill and Callum McCombe, cycled 130 miles from West Cumberland Hospital to Freeman Hospital in Newcastle last month in memory of Michael’s daughter Hope, who tragically died at just six months old.
This summer marks the two year anniversary since Hope passed away and Dad Michael wants to remember his daughter by giving back to the two charities which supported him when she was in hospital – The Sick Children’s Trust and The Children’s Heart Unit Fund.
Hope was diagnosed with a serious heart defect – hypoplastic left heart syndrome – at her 20 week scan, which meant the left side of her heart hadn’t developed properly. Shortly after Hope was born at The Royal Victoria Infirmary, she was transferred to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital for specialist treatment. During this time, Dad Michael and Mum Lisa were supported at Scott House, free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation run by The Sick Children’s Trust. Michael, who has raised thousands of pounds for the charities since Hope passed away, says:
“I called our challenge ‘a journey of a lifetime’ because Hope was initially diagnosed at the 20 week scan at West Cumberland Hospital and sadly lost her life at Freeman Hospital. So the cycle represents the journey she went on.
“Scott House was a huge support at a very difficult time. It was like a real home and had everything we needed – it was great to have a clean, comfortable and quiet space away from the hospital ward. And it was so reassuring to know we were just a few minutes away from Hope at all times.
“The staff at Scott House are fantastic, they are so supportive and are a friendly face when you are going through the toughest of times imaginable. They are always there to listen and provide a great sense of comfort when it feels like your whole world is falling apart.”
The trio decided to cycle the 130 mile route of Hope’s journey in May and, despite not having cycled in year, Michael and his friends completed the mammoth challenge in just two days at the end of July. Michael says:
“It was an extremely tough challenge, but I’m pleased to have completed it. We’ve raised £1000 so far and counting, so hopefully this will go towards supporting more families who have a child being treated in a hospital far away from home.
“I’ve done quite bit of fundraising since Hope died and I do it to help other families who need the support and comfort of the ‘Homes from Home’ provided by The Sick Children’s Trust. By giving something back, it helps me to cope.”
The Sick Children’s Trust supports around 4,000 families in its ten ‘Homes from Home’ every year – keeping families close to their seriously ill child’s bedside. Andrew Leadbitter, Scott House Manager, says:
“We are so grateful to Michael and his friends for taking on the 130 mile cycling challenge to fundraise for us. It was so lovely to meet them at the finish line and congratulate them on such an amazing achievement - I know it must have been very difficult for Michael to make that journey from West Cumberland Hospital to the Freeman.
“Scott House is located on the hospital grounds, which meant Hope’s family were just minutes from her hospital bedside. It costs us £30 to support a family for one night in one of our ‘Homes from Home’ and we rely entirely on voluntary donations to do this, so the team’s fundraising will support other families when they need it the most.”
To sponsor Michael, please click here: