A DEVOTED dad has given up drinking alcohol for a year to raise cash for the hospital unit that saved his daughter’s life.
Shaun O’ Connor hopes his ‘no beer for a year’ challenge will raise £2,000 for the neonatal unit at Sheffield Children’s Hospital where little Evie, now two, spent the first month of her life.
IT technician Shaun, aged 33, of Oakland Road, Hillsborough, said: “There were three occasions when Evie was in the hospital and we did think, ‘We’re not going to see her again’.
“The neonatal unit is always there and we’ll always remember how much they did for Evie to save her life.”
Evie was born with Hirschsprung’s Disease, which meant her bowel did not develop properly in the womb. She had major surgery at just six days old in the first of three operations.
She also has a condition that leaves her without sufficient oxygen in her blood - which means even a sniffle can see her back in hospital, as happened at Christmas although she is now doing well.
Shaun said: “When Evie was back in hospital again it brought it all back why I was doing the challenge.
“Nothing ever gets her down - even in hospital she was trying to run around and cheer all the other kids up.
“I thought Christmas would be hard not drinking but it was a piece of cake.
“But it was the first Christmas for a long time people have come and asked for a drink and we’ve had nothing in!”
Dad-of-two Shaun, whose wife Rachael is expecting their third child, has already raised nearly £400.
He said: “I’m not a heavy drinker, and one of the things I have to keep saying to people is I’m not an alcoholic!
“I’m certainly not going to keep it up once the challenge us over though. Like anybody I like the odd beer, but I don’t think I’ll ever go back to having it in the house.”
Shaun is sticking to the soft drinks until June 22 - his 34th birthday.
n To sponsor Shaun’s challenge visit www.justgiving.com/salmonbones