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“The Neonatal Unit in Cork University Hospital saved our little boy just under a year ago and I will run for the rest of my life to raise more money for this unit if this campaign goes well for us.”

Odhràn was just four days old when he was diagnosed with Viral Meningitis. His parents, TTM’s Charlene Cooke and her partner George were faced with the reality of their new born son being rushed to the CUH Neonatal Unit. It was here, under the care of the entire Neonatology team, that Odhràn received spectacular care which, after many weeks in the unit, now sees him as a thriving 11 month old.

Charlene and George are not alone. 1 in 10 children born in CUH will require admission to the Neonatal Unit. The care of the infants in the unit involves a multidisciplinary team, incorporating medical and nursing staff, along with other support services. The neonatal team is led by five consultant neonatologists who work tirelessly to provide the best possible medical care for the children, in an environment that supports the families through such a trying time.

When the opportunity arose to raise money for CUH Neonatal, Charlene and George dusted off their running shoes and began pounding the pavement, clocking in 5 days of training a week and by late March, they were running 20 miles on Sundays. Despite feeling exhausted at the end of each day from motherhood duties, keeping down a full time job and training, Charlene noted that “you just get on with it – the charity is what motivates us and Odhràn is our world. You forget about all the aches, pains and injuries – none of that really matters and all can be treated with rest and cold baths”.

All this training has paid off as Charlene and George now have three races under their belts – The Waterford Half Marathon, The John Treacy Dungarvan 10 Mile Road Race, and most recently the Mallow 10 Mile Road Race – but their biggest challenge is just around the corner – The Manchester Marathon on 10th April.

You can sponsor Charlene and George’s Manchester Marathon entry here, with all donations, big or small, greatly appreciated to help the brilliant CUH Charity.

CUH Charity’s mission is to refurbish the inpatient facilities in the Children’s Unit, which remain untouched since they were built in the 1970’s. Funds raised from this appeal will aid the transformation of the Children’s Unit into a single Centre of Excellence, providing an extensive range of a specialist services for the children in the Munster area.