Worthing man takes on mammoth challenge to raise money for Rockinghorse

Over the last weekend Dan Cassidy has run four miles every four hours over the space of 48 hours and has raised over £2,300 for Rockinghorse.

Dan wanted to raise money for the well-known children’s charity as a way of thanking the staff at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton for all the care his daughter Darcie received when she was born.

Darcie in the TMBU

Dan, 39, and his partner Jo were living in Hove when they were expecting Darcie. After a long, hard and traumatic 72-hour labour, Darcie was born but there were complications. She arrived not breathing and was rushed straight to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) to be treated.

This was an incredibly difficult moment for Jo and Dan: “This was without doubt the scariest thing we’ve ever been through. I was powerless to help the most important thing in the world to me when she needed me.

“Having a baby is scary enough without any complications and for the week that Darcie was in the TMBU the doctors, nurses and every single member of staff were absolutely incredible. The nurses were there to reassure us whilst we sat terrified by her bedside day and night. The care Darcie received was second to none and we are eternally grateful to every single member of staff.

“Thankfully Darcie has grown into the most incredible, kind, funny and caring little girl I could have ever hoped her to be. She is slightly crazy right now, but I’m told that’s how most three-year-olds are! She is a bundle of energy and wants to run and play constantly.”

A fundraising idea is born

Dan wanted to try and give something back ever since Darcie was born but as anyone who has a child will know it’s incredibly hard to find the time to stay fit once children come along. So, Dan decided to roll with it and get fat and unhealthy for three years. But he’s now taken up running again and decided to take on a challenge.

As Dan explains: “I was halfway through reading the book ‘Can’t hurt me’ by David Goggins and I was amazed at the mental and physical strength he has. That was when I heard about the 4x4x48 challenge running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours and decided I wanted to give it a go.

“The further I got into the book the more I realised I was taking on a challenge set by a machine/madman and the closer I got to doing the challenge the more I realise I should have given this a bit more thought!”

Darcie congratulating her daddy Dan

A long weekend of running

Despite these initial concerns, Dan managed to complete the amazing challenge, running six different routes around Worthing, Shoreham, Hove and Brighton. And whilst at points it was really difficult to keep going, Dan managed to complete the gruelling challenge and raise a great amount for a worthy cause.

And for Dan it was all worthwhile: “I don’t allow myself to think about what might have been had it not been for the incredible doctors and nurses in the TMBU that day and for the two weeks that followed. But Jo and I are eternally grateful for what they have done for our little girl and the kindness they showed us during our time there. 

“Whilst I managed to complete the challenge it was without doubt the most brutal thing I’ve ever done. What kept me going through the hardest and lowest parts was raising money for such an incredible cause and the amazing support from all my family and friends. I didn’t have any expectations about how much I would raise but so far, I’ve managed to get to over £2300. I’ve been overwhelmed by people’s kindness and generosity. I guess such a worthy cause makes it easier to donate but thanks to everyone who has supported me.”

Lucy Pond, Challenge Events Manager at Rockinghorse was blown away by Dan’s achievement: “What Dan has done is incredible! I was aware of this challenge before but didn’t know anyone who was prepared to undertake it so when I heard about Dan doing it to support Rockinghorse I was really impressed.

“The funds he has raised will go towards equipment that can help other babies like Darcie who may not have the best start in life, so he’s definitely achieved his goal.”

Well done to Dan for completing this astonishing challenge and if anyone else would like to donate, visit Dan’s JustGiving page here.

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