Dad's year-long challenge in memory of six-year-old daughter
A THORNBURY dad who lost his daughter to leukaemia has set himself a huge challenge to support the hospice which looked after his family.
Martin Abrahams is taking part in a variety of physical challenges to raise money for Children’s Hospice South West, aiming to cover 2,021 miles through the course of the year in which the charity marks its 30th anniversary.
His daughter Jessica was aged just six when she died and the whole family was supported by the hospice at Charlton Farm, near Bristol.
Martin, who is 43 and was born in Yate, said: “The care and compassion we experienced during the worst time in our lives was priceless.
"Jessica lost a long battle with leukaemia and Charlton Farm was there for my wife, Melissa, our eldest daughter, Zoe and myself.”
Jess (pictured above with Martin after completing her first parkrun, while undergoing chemotherapy) died in 2017 and the family felt their world was crumbling around them. The hospice fed them, helped with funeral arrangements and supported Jess’s older sister Zoe.
Since then, the charity has provided ongoing bereavement support.
Martin said: “We wish we could have found Charlton Farm whilst Jess was still with us, but we didn’t know what great work they did until afterwards.”
In 2019 the Voice reported how Martin ran the London Marathon for the hospice while wearing a giant shoe costume.
He said: “This year is different, so my challenge is different. This year I am aiming to cover 2021 miles.
"I’m allowing myself to use a number of methods to get there – walking, running, rowing and cycling. I have been prone to injuries in the past, so I’m keeping my options open!”
This summer Martin, who is a business analyst, will join a team taking part in Endure24, which involves 24 hours of trail running near Reading.
He is also participating in the Ride for Precious Lives event organised by CHSW, cycling 205 miles in three days between the three hospices, Charlton Farm near Bristol, Little Bridge House in Barnstaple and Little Harbour in St Austell.
There will need to be more events to enable Martin to reach his target, and he is keen to link up with other people.
He said: “If anyone wants to join me, or invite me to join them, please do reach out, covid rules permitting, as it will be good to mix things up a bit – otherwise I'm going to be putting grooves into the roads near me!”
Children’s Hospice South West is the only children’s hospital in the region and is almost entirely dependent on voluntary contributions.
Martin is aiming to raise £2,021. You can donate to his challenge online at justgiving.com/fundraising/martin-abrahams2021.