Dad’s epic thanks to life-savers

A brave dad will take on an epic sporting challenge this summer to raise cash for charity – and awareness of the need for organ donors.

Michael Hooley from Cramlington is taking part in the C2C4 challenge to raise money for the hospital which saved his daughter Rachel’s life.

The father-of-two is raising the money for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund, a fund set up to support the heart unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Michael’s daughter Rachel was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy leaving her with an enlarged heart that could not pump the blood around her body.

Soon after Rachel was admitted she was placed on the heart transplant list, and after just nine days a heart became available.

Rachel underwent a heart transplant on February 10, 2012.

Michael said: “Rachel is a year post heart transplant and is doing well, she has regular check-ups at the Freeman Hospital.

“I wanted to say thank you to the hospital that saved my daughter’s life, and I thought this would be a good way to do it.”

This July Michael will take part in the four day C2C4 challenge organised by Seb4Chuf.

The challenge will see him and a team of others cycle 75 miles on the first day, swim a mile across the Derwent Water and ride 65 miles on the second day, and cycle 75 miles to Close House in Northumberland on the third day, then run a full marathon into the sea at Tynemouth on the final day.

Michael said: “I want to highlight the importance of signing up to the Organ Register.

“The Freeman Hospital has drugs and machines they can put in place until a donor heart is offered and, fortunately in Rachel’s case she did not need this, but many many children and adults do, and many die waiting.

“Thankfully, an amazing donor family going through the grief of losing a loved one had the selflessness to think of others, and Rachel received her gift of life, and I want to say thank you and raise awareness.”

To sponsor Michael’s challenge, visit

To sign the NHS Organ Donor Register either text SAVE to 84118 or visit