A doting dad soldiered on to complete two tiring runs in quick succession to raise £2,500 after his brave “little lass” spent her early life battling meningitis.
Within ten days of her birth Jessica Marsden was diagnosed with Group B Streptococcus (GBS) and septicaemia.
She was in hospital for two weeks fighting the disease, but later an MRI scan revealed she had fluid on the brain. Doctors installed a reservoir to drain the fluid and Jessica’s condition began improving. She presently has a slight swelling and doctors are monitoring her.
Jessica’s parents Rob Marsden and Tracey Earth are proud as ‘the little angel of inspiration’ is taking her first steps, but after-effects could take years to show.
Now the couple, from Moulton Chapel, hope to spread awareness and help Meningitis UK find vaccines the disease.
Rob (38) said: “Jessica is the bravest person we know. She has already endured more pain and hardship than most of us stand to in a lifetime.”
He completed the mammoth 13.1-mile Great Eastern Run in Peterborough just shy of his two-hour target time on October 14.
This follows finishing the 10km Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield on September 2 in 49 minutes and 24 seconds.
Rob said: “Running both was one hell of a challenge and a lot to ask myself in such a short time, but I wanted to do it for Jessica.
“It was impossible to fight back the tears as I looked at her while I stood among the runners at the start.
“The first 11 months of her life filled my mind, along with a great deal of hope and pride that the money raised will prevent others from having to go through what Jessica and we have.
“Unfortunately, I was suffering from the flu and thus a couple of unscheduled ‘sickly stops’ meant my goal of under two hours was one minute and 22 seconds out. Nevertheless, the taking part was the main aim and the overall feeling was one of achievement.”
The couple are raising money for Meningitis UK on Jessica’s first birthday by holding a ‘village-themed’ fundraiser, including tombolas, a bouncy castle, cakes and fete games, at Moulton Chapel Village Hall on Saturday, November 10.
To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/ROB-MARSDEN.