Second marathon ‘thank you’ for daughter’s care

Helen Spandley with six-year-old daughter Gabby
Helen Spandley with six-year-old daughter Gabby

Tangmere runner Helen Spandley is making a marathon effort to raise money for a charity that supports her six-year-old daughter.

The 39-year-old will be running the Bournemouth Marathon on Sunday – the second time she has run it as a thank you for the help Gabby receives.

Gabby, centre, at Sensory Club, run by Pacso

Gabby, centre, at Sensory Club, run by Pacso

Her 2013 Bournemouth Marathon was for the Sussex Snowdrop Trust, which has supported the family since Gabby was born on January 12, 2010, with the heart condition critical pulmonary stenosis.

This time, Helen wants to raise money and awareness for Pacso (Parents and Carers Support Organisation), a charity that supports children with disabilities and their families in Chichester and the Arun district.

Pacso provides a range of clubs throughout the year, as well as a highly-successful Buddy Scheme. It also provides a number of fun days and social events for all the family.

Helen said Gabby, who is autistic and has a feeding tube in her stomach, has attended Pacso activities since she was two.

She added: “She enjoys Sensory Club, Saturday Club and the Summer Playscheme, and really loved canoeing at the CYE Family Fun Day.”

Helen is aiming to do the marathon in five hours. She is asking for help to achieve her other aim of raising £500 for the charity.

“I now need lots of lovely people to sponsor me so I can raise as much money as I can. That will make the aches and pains worthwhile,” she said.

When Gabby was born, everything seemed normal at first but at 3am the next day, she was rushed to Southampton Hospital after being diagnosed with critical pulmonary stenosis.

The day after that, a balloon was inserted up through her groin to stretch her heart valves.

Helen said Gabby would probably have died had the doctor not come round to do an early check-up in the first hours after her birth.

After two weeks recovering in hospital, Gabby was sent home and a community nurse put them in touch with Snowdrop, which has continued to support Helen, her husband Richard and their daughter ever since.

Gabby had a feeding peg was fitted when she was three because she was not getting enough nutrients, leading to her being underweight and small for her age. Earlier that year, she was diagnosed with autism.

To support Helen and make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Helen-Spandley3

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