Burnley fan running 5k every day wants to raise money for hospital that saved son's life

A lifelong Burnley fan who is running 5k every day in 2020 to raise money for the hospital that saved his son's life says it is the least he can do.
Jamie Penswick with this sons Sebastian and RupertJamie Penswick with this sons Sebastian and Rupert
Jamie Penswick with this sons Sebastian and Rupert

Jamie Penswick's son Sebastian (now aged six) was rushed to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, shortly after he was born, suffering from heart complications.

Surgeons were able to widen one of the valves in Sebastian's heart, and after seven terrifying days, Jamie and his wife Natalie brought their little boy home.

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Jamie (30) said the idea for the gruelling charity challenge came about after he decided to lose a bit of weight at the beginning of this year.

Jamie Penswick is attempting to run at least 5k every day in 2020Jamie Penswick is attempting to run at least 5k every day in 2020
Jamie Penswick is attempting to run at least 5k every day in 2020

"At the end of last year I had put on a lot of weight and was badly out of shape," said the former Fisher More RC High School pupil. "I used to be a decent runner; I've run the London Marathon three times and my 5k PB is 19:22.

"Over Christmas I logged on to my Strava to look back at my year. It said 'you have to have done at least three activities to access this feature'. That was a low point.

"I thought, 'I need to have a better year', so I decided to do a 30-day 5k challenge in January. Just to shift a bit of timber."

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Then on January 3rd, Jamie and Natalie visited Alder Hey for what they thought was going to be a routine appointment.

"We have always known that Seb is going to need a heart valve replacement at some point," said Jamie. "But when we went to Alder Hey at the beginning of the year, they told us he was in need of a similar procedure to the one that he had when he was born. We weren't expecting that.

"He was operated on in the first week of March, just before lockdown, and thankfully everything went well.

"By this point the running had become a way of keeping me sane. So, I decided to stretch it out for the year; do something unique and raise a bit money for Alder Hey.

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"They saved Sebastian's life. Burnley General had a part to play in that as well. When he was born we had no idea that something was wrong. The pregnancy went fine. The birth went fine. Then the next thing we knew, he was in NICU before being rushed off in an ambulance to Alder Hey.

"The surgeons, the staff there have all been incredible, not just for how they have looked after Seb but us as well. They're brilliant."

Jamie, a project manager at BAE, lives in Barrowford with Natalie, Sebastian and the couple's two other children Rupert (three) and Margo (one).

He initially set out to raise £1,500 for Alder Hey, but given the financial pressures the hospital is currently under, he has decided to raise that to £5,000 - with a special "bonus" challenge lined up.

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"I'll be forever indebted to Alder Hey for what they have done and I want to raise as much as possible.

"To try and encourage more donations I have said that whatever percentage of the £5,000 I manage to raise I'll run the equivalent percentage in time on New Year's Eve. With it being a leap year, I'll have done 365 days so that's technically a bonus day.

"So, if I end up hitting the full target it'll be a 24-hour run, if I raise £2,500 it'll be 50% and a 12-hour run. I'm currently working out if it's feasible to run to Alder Hey and back in the day, which is roughly 94 miles."

Jamie has run more than 1,500km so far and has clocked up an incredible 135 hours.

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"January was tough because I was out of shape. But as I've gone along the weight's come down and my fitness has gone up, so it's become easier.

"I did get a calf injury in June, and because you don't get a chance to rest, I was struggling with little injuries until September. The days are getting shorter and the weather a bit colder which is going to make it tougher, but there's not long to go now."

Anybody wishing to donate can do so by going here – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/365forseb

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