A WORTHING police officer will take part in a 100km Sahara trek followed by two marathons to raise money for a charity that supports children with heart defects.
Gemma Davis, 34, became aware of the work of Evelina Children’s Hospital Organisation when her niece, Holly Perryman, two, was born with a congenital heart defect Ebstein Anomaly.
The charity is a support group for the families of children born with heart conditions who are treated at Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospitals.
It is run by parents of heart-children who all appreciate the benefits which can be gained through contact with other parents in a similar situation.
Gemma, of Eirene Road, Worthing, said: “I like taking part in charity events and am a very keen runner but as so mnay people are doing things now I wanted to put together a challenge that I knew would be difficult.
“I chose the desert part because I had never heard of anyone doing it before, the Brighton Marathon soon after, as it is close to home then the London Marathon because I will run past the hospitals that Holly was treated at.
“The fact that the three stages are close together only makes the challenge harder, so at the moment I am training hard six times a week.”
In the build-up to the challenge, Gemma is selling t-shirts, designed by her niece and Holly’s older sister, Daisy, five.
She said: “I want people to take part in a fitness event raising the t-shirt, because it is important that people know how important keeping active and looking after your heart is.
“The fact that Daisy has designed them makes it so much better, as she has had to endure lots of hospital visits.
“I want to raise as much money as possible for this amazing charity, because they have really helped our family through a difficult time.”
Sam, Holly’s mother, said: “What Gemma is doing is amazing.
“We knew that Holly was going to be born with this defect and it was awful because we just did not know the extent.
“Holly is on the moderate scale and we have had scary moments such as her heart having to be re-started. It has been an emotional rollercoaster.”
For more information go to www.sand2land.co.uk