“I’m absolutely chuffed to bits with the support”

After being challenged over Christmas, determined Richard Fyfe from Sheffield embarked on a six-month challenge to say thank you for his family’s care at Sheffield Children’s.

By diana stannard
Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 9:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 9:07 am
L-R Richard, Donna, David, Jean, brother Stephen and sister-in-law Simran Credit James Stewart
L-R Richard, Donna, David, Jean, brother Stephen and sister-in-law Simran Credit James Stewart

Running 40 miles every week, Richard has now completed his ‘NHS1000 mile’ challenge, raising an incredible more than £5,000.

What makes his challenge even more remarkable is that driven by dad, David, Richard’s family had already raised over £1.18 million for The Children’s Hospital Charity since 1990.

Originally intended as a one-off, their annual spring-time Daffodil Ball has since been attended by almost 7,000 people over three decades.

Richard raised more than £5,000 in total

The fantastic total has supported projects ranging from endoscopic instruments and the 3T intraoperative MRI scanner to The Children’s Hospital Charity’s ongoing efforts to redevelop the Emergency Department and the Cancer and Leukaemia ward.

The phenomenal fundraising events saw Richard’s parents, David and Jean Fyfe, honoured with the Charity’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. However, the Daffodil Ball’s postponement due to COVID-19 this year prompted Richard to begin thinking of other ways he could help.

Richard, from Crosspool, explained: “It was knowing that the Daffodil Ball was going to be cancelled for another year that made me think about how much The Children’s Hospital Charity needs our support. Sheffield Children’s does great work every day, so I wanted to find a way to help.”

Richard’s emotional commitment to the cause was also deepened by the care his son James and daughter Isabel have received at Sheffield Children’s.

L-R Isabel, Donna, Richard and James Fyfe Credit Picture Perfect Photography

Seven-year-old James is under the care of the Ryegate Children’s Centre following his diagnoses for Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and more recently, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The Ryegate Centre hosts The Child Development and Neurodisability Service at Sheffield Children’s and provides clinics and therapy sessions for children with neurological conditions. The Centre typically sees more than 5,000 patients every year.

James’ mum Donna explains: “I’m a teacher so I could spot the signs early and I think I always knew. We were referred by our GP to the Ryegate Centre for his long-term support.

“The consultants and nurses at Sheffield Children’s have been amazing. They’ve helped us get James the support he needs in school and have provided us with presentations and videos to develop strategies to help him.”

Richard ran 40 miles a week for The Children's Hospital Charity

“James quite enjoys going to Ryegate, playing with the toys and he’s now quite used to the experience of it all. It’s such a welcoming and understanding environment, they give him and me the time to transition and it’s the one place I don’t feel anxious about taking him.”

Nine-year-old sister Isabel enjoys an active childhood and, on several occasions, has had to visit the Emergency Department.

Mum Donna continues: “She first went to the Emergency Department when she was four and has since needed her head glued back together twice. Isabel loves gymnastics and seems to have spent much of her childhood upside down!

“More recently, a branch scratched her eye while she was climbing a tree. The care was fantastic, we were made to feel at ease, comfortable and were in and out very quickly.

“We’re so lucky to have Sheffield Children’s on our doorstep. Our recent experiences have certainly made our family’s fundraising more poignant and motivated us to take on new challenges.”

Richard’s challenge saw him run 1,000 miles in five months, at a pace more than double what he managed in 2020. He finished ahead of schedule, completing his final mile on Sunday, May 30.

Richard explains: “I’m absolutely chuffed to bits with the support, it has been amazing. I hope the money raised will help at Ryegate and across Sheffield Children’s through the main charity appeal. I was particularly pleased to have ran 40 miles each and every week for five months as some weeks were really tough.

“On a personal note, all the miles also worked out well for me as I ran a sub-3 hour marathon, which has been a goal of mine for most of a decade.”

Richard has raised more than £5,000 in his challenge, with the total divided between The Ryegate Centre and The Children’s Hospital Charity’s main appeal, which includes redeveloping the Emergency Department, to reflect his family’s wide range of care at Sheffield Children’s.

Dr Karen Arnold, Consultant Community Paediatrician, added: “It has been a genuine pleasure to get to know James and his family and it is lovely to know that the advice and support the family have received has been helpful.

“We are so grateful for the family’s amazing fundraising efforts, especially for Ryegate, which will help us continue to find the best way to support children and families like James’.”

You can still support Richard’s challenge here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ric-fyfe-1000-miles

To find out more about how The Children’s Hospital Charity are working to transform Sheffield Children’s, visit: www.tchc.org.uk