When Mike Sprot's wife Emma started to suffer headaches and vision problems on their honeymoon in New York, little did he know he would later spend the following weeks as a newly-wed at her hospital bedside.
And now after an eventful start to their marriage, Mike wants to say thank you to the amazing medics and nurses at the Hallamshire Hospital in one of the most challenging ways.
The 37-year-old from Nether Edge, is planning to run a staggering ten marathons in ten days to raise money for city-based brain charity, Neurocare.
Emma suffered headaches and vision problems during the couple’s New York honeymoon following their wedding in October 2015.
After visiting her optician, she was immediately referred to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital where an MRI scan revealed a pituitary cyst at the base of her brain was growing and putting pressure on her optic nerves.
Emma was quickly admitted for surgery and spent a month in critical care following four brain operations, including a craniotomy, to completely remove the cyst. Although successful, Emma still has limited sight in her left eye.
Mike said: “It’s obviously been a very difficult time, but everyone at the Royal Hallamshire have been just brilliant.
“We have also seen at first hand the amazing work that the charity Neurocare does, to support the the neuro team and, and we really wanted to give something back to say thank you.”
That ‘something’ will involve Mike travelling to the Lake District in May to complete the UK’s ultimate endurance running event - ten marathons in ten consecutive days.
He will join 16 others for the Brathay 10in10 event which follow the scenic but seriously tough Windermere Marathon course. Between May 12-21, Mike will aim to run 262 miles, involving a leg and heart-sapping 14,000 feet of ascent.
Although an experienced runner – with nearly 20 marathons under his vest – Mike knows this will be the toughest mental and physical challenge he has ever faced.
“I’m training about 90-100 miles a week plus gym sessions,” said Mike, a member of Hallamshire Harriers, Dark Peak Fell Runners and South Yorkshire Orienteers.
“But this is all very new territory and I’m not sure you can totally prepare for how you are going to cope mentally and physically with doing ten in ten days.”
Mike is aiming to raise £8,000 with half going to Neurocare, which buys state-of- the-art equipment and supports groundbreaking neurological research at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.
The charity has just launched a £250,000 appeal to secure the most advanced surgical robot of its kind for Sheffield hospitals’ neurological centre of excellence.
The ROSA surgical assistant robot could transform the lives of thousands of people needing complex brain surgery.
Just like a GPS system, ROSA provides neurosurgeons with extraordinarily accurate 3D maps of the brain, allowing them to precisely and safely reach areas they could not reach before.
This offers real hope for people with poorly controlled epilepsy, deep-seated brain tumours, Parkinson’s Disease and other complex brain disorders.
Neurocare has worked with the manufacturer Zimmer Biomet Robotics to bring ROSA to the Royal Hallamshire - which is now the only NHS hospital in the UK to have this cutting-edge robot – but to keep it here the charity needs to raise £250,000 in six months.
Mike, a chief financial officer for a marketing company, added: “It is just amazing what ROSA can do and the fact that Sheffield is the only NHS hospital in the UK to offer treatment to patients.
“So I hope that the money I raise from doing this can help Neurocare to keep ROSA in Sheffield.”
Half the money Mike raises will also go to the Brathay Trust, which organizes the 10in10 event. The hospital trust works with disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people, helping them and their families into education, training or work. They support over 7,000 young people every year across the UK.
To support Mike go to his JustGivingpage or you can text donate by texting SPRO79 and the amount you wish to give to 70070.