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Desert trek will be for my brave Theo
AN adventurous dad inspired by the fighting spirit of his late baby son who was born with half a heart will set off on a gruelling trek over the Sahara Desert.
Dave Rachel will brave soaring daytime temperatures and bitterly cold nights as part of a charity trek in Morocco to raise money for a home-from-home for families who have children battling life-threatening conditions and illnesses.
Mr Rachel, aged 48, of Warndon Villages, Worcester, will set off on the three-day challenge which involves walking for eight hours a day on November 14. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), an independent charity, will benefit. The charity aims to provide free ‘home away from home’ accommodation at hospitals across the UK, enabling families to stay close to their child and maintain a degree of normal family life.
Mr Rachel’s son Theo was born on November 2 last year with hypoplastic left heart syndrome which meant an initial nine-hour operation, followed by 10 weeks in Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Mr Rachel said: “He came home with us for just over three weeks but died on February 5. “While he was in hospital, we did a daily update on his progress, and the updates got picked up by family, friends and friends of friends all over the world, with people rooting for him to survive his struggle. He touched a massive number of people, in-cluding people who he had never even met, and I truly believe his fighting spirit has moved and changed a number of people, none more so than myself.
“I have set up this page to offer a way for people to say thank you in Theo’s memory to Ronald McDonald House, where we stayed for 10 weeks while Theo was in hospital. I am aiming to raise enough to sponsor a room for three years.”
Mr Rachel said he was looking forward to the challenge which he hopes can raise at least £2,500 for Ronald McDonald House and has now invested in some new, more comfortable walking boots. His son, 26-year-old Craig, is also taking part with colleagues from Zolfo Cooper. Together they hope to raise at least £12,000 for Ronald McDonald House. Supporters of Theo called ‘Theo’s friends’ have already donated cleaning products, dishwasher tablets, toilet roll and other essentials to Ronald McDonald House. Since Theo died his supporters have raised more than £9,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charities and other good causes connected to Theo’s care. Visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/daverachel.