A FATHER whose son was taken to intensive care after giving birth prematurely has raised vital funds for the unit that has kept his baby alive.
Preston Forster and five dedicated friends raised more than £5,000 by taking on the Three Peaks Challenge last weekend.
Preston and his Eastbourne partner Keri Stallard have spent weeks in limbo after their son Albie was born in March last year, just 29 weeks into Keri’s pregnancy.
Albie weighed just 2 pounds 9 ounces when he began fighting for his life in intensive care at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital.
At the time, Preston vowed that he would go beyond his daily gifts of donuts to the nurses caring for his son and raise as much money as possible to show his gratitude.
“I felt stuck, we didn’t know what the outcome was going to be,” Preston said, reflecting when his son was in intensive care.
“During the time we were there, I bought donuts for the nurses every day, but it never felt like enough.
“I decided on the spot that I would help the people who help my son.”
Preston recruited five friends and they began training for the challenge of climbing Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike in Wales in less than 24 hours.
The night before the group was due to start climbing, they saw their fundraiser near the £5,000 goal – and trekking the next day, they achieved it.
“I didn’t know what number to aim for but I wanted to make sure we had a good amount. I was nervous that we might not get there,” said Preston.
“We were absolutely thrilled, there was such a great response. People like it, everyone loves an underdog story.”
They have raised £5,695 so far, which will be split between charities Rockinghorse, which supports the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, and the Ronald McDonald House, which provides accommodation nearby for families with children in hospital.
“Without Ronald McDonald we would have had to drive back and forth to Eastbourne every day, which is an hour each way,” Preston said.
“They’ve been a huge help and I really don’t know what we would have done without them.”
Rockinghorse uses donations to fund vital equipment at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit, including essential monitors and ventilators for newborns.
Hollie Tresize, fundraising manager for the charity, said: “Preston and Keri have been so supportive of Rockinghorse since little Albie was born.
“Not only did they organize and complete this amazing challenge, they also arranged a benefit football game and golf day to raise money.
“What they are doing will support so many other families who need the excellent support and care provided by Trevor Mann Baby Unit and we simply cannot thank them enough.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20669069.eastbourne-dad-tackles-challenge-baby-care-charity/?ref=rss Eastbourne dad takes up challenge for baby care charity