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Firefighters run for The Big Donor Challenge
TWO firefighters running in aid of a good cause were joined by some of their colleagues for the Bournemouth leg of their challenge.
Phil Jackson, 45, and Stuart Vince, 35, have been undertaking The Big Donor Challenge, which has seen them run from Portsmouth to Land’s End and back in the space of 20 days.
The men, who work for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, had six people join them from other Hampshire fire stations to take on the Bournemouth to Lymington part on Thursday last week.
It has been organised to encourage people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register and to raise funds for the G4 Mephrology Children’s Ward at Southampton General Hospital.
Stuart, who donated an organ exactly one year ago, said: “We both wanted to push ourselves to our absolute limits.
“It was designed to be 11 marathons in 11 days and then we would kayak back, but due to the weather, we only kayaked for two days and then ran and cycled the rest.
“We’ve had a really brilliant support team, and everyone has really looked after us. Our aim was to raise awareness of the Organ Donor Register, to save lives, and I myself donated a kidney a year ago today.
“The Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth were so good with us, we just wanted to give something back.”
The men hope to raise around £10,000 for the good cause, and hope to get 1,000 people to sign up to the Donor Register.
“It’s been very hard and very emotional, with some days in the rain and other days in 28C heat.
“Some of the guys from our station have joined us at various points, and we’ve stayed at a fire station every night. The furthest that both of us had travelled before was 10 miles so this was a challenge, and I think that basically it is mind over matter.
“There are over 7,000 people on the organ donor waiting list and most of them will die before they find the right donor.”
He added that not enough people carried organ donor cards and added: “More needs to be done.”
For more information, go to thebigdonorchallenge.co.uk