Words by Smiley Team
A dad has gone on a unique fundraising journey with a wheelbarrow to raise money for the hospitals that saved his son’s life.
The 36-mile journey took Chris a whole two days, although he was spurred on by plenty of support along the way and his two friends Phil and Karl.
“The second day was definitely tougher than the first, but I had two friends with me and the support we received along the way was incredible. People were tooting their car horns and putting money into the bottle," says Chris.
A spanner was almost thrown into the works when the wheelbarrow broke only three miles away from the finish line.
“We couldn’t believe it when the wheel broke three miles from the finish," he says. "It was crazy and we were all laughing. I had a mate who was able to bring a spare wheelbarrow, so we did finish it, just not quite how we’d planned.
“It was such an amazing feeling to finish it on Friday night. We might all be achy, but we know it was for a worthy cause."
The coins that Chris was pushing were his own personal coin collection started more than 15 years ago, with some coins added in along the way by passing supporters.
Chris was inspired to take on the unique challenge after both hospitals treated his son Louis when he was two years old.
Louis had a convulsion in the back of the car and needed urgent medical treatment, which led to him being put into a medically induced coma.
“He hadn’t been well and was quite lethargic so my partner, Debbie McTaggart, decided to drive him to Alder Hey. They were on that journey when he started having a convulsion in the back of the car," recalls Chris.
“When I arrived his eyes were just really wide staring at the ceiling and he was completely out of it. It was just the worst day I’ve ever had. I remember I was struggling to breathe and felt like I couldn’t get a full grasp of air. It was just awful.”
Louis was in the coma for four days, in what Chris describes as the most horrible time for the family. “It was on one of those days I came home from hospital and started putting coins in a large bottle – the sort you use for a water cooler. And I thought one day I’d do something with it.”
Thankfully Louis made a full recovery but later received unrelated treatments at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.
Although the money is still being counted, Chris and his friends have so far raised more than £9,000 on their fundraising page that is being split between Alder Hey and Manchester Children's Hospital.
The money in the water tub has been match-funded by sponsors Knowsley Domestics and Castle Green Homes have also donated £2,000.
Shannon Appleyard, a Relationship Officer for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, added: “Chris and his friends Phil and Karl must be so proud of completing the walk. I hope they had a well-earned rest after it was all over.
“We’re so grateful to them for coming up with such a unique way of raising funds for two very special causes.”
DONATE: You can still donate to Chris’ fundraiser on his JustGiving page.