Harry inspires team to tackle London to Paris cycle ride | Action Medical Research

Harry inspires team to tackle London to Paris cycle ride

10 November 2014

Up until around five years ago, Chris Hollister admits that he was ‘unfit, a smoker and a couch potato’. That all changed when his partner Catherine fell pregnant – he stopped smoking and started jogging regularly, gradually increasing his fitness. Then everything came to a crashing halt for nearly eight months as tragedy struck...

Catherine, upon arriving at her assessment appointment at 26+4 weeks pregnant, soon discovered that the pain she’d been in for six days was in fact labour and she was due to give birth. That evening their son Harry arrived, weighing only 2Ib 10oz. After nine days in intensive care Harry had to be moved to another hospital for emergency surgery for the life-threatening bowel disorder necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) – which he amazingly survived, despite having 3cm of bowel removed. He then caught several infections, struggled to feed and underwent a number of scary medical procedures before eventually showing signs of improvement.

It was an incredibly slow, painful process for both Chris and Catherine but, after 90 days, he finally went home and luckily, nearly four years later, Harry is now an active toddler with a “shark bite” scar on his belly, mild cerebral palsy and a strong character to show for his early entrance into the world.

When Harry was just eight months old, Chris resumed his jogging, joined a local gym and became hooked on spinning classes – eventually leading to his purchase of a mountain bike. He now describes himself as a keen and active cyclist. Recognising the important work that Action Medical Research undertakes by providing funding for research into conditions like NEC and premature birth, Chris has been inspired to participate in the Action London to Paris cycle ride from 22-26 July 2015.

Choosing the Classic Route (one of three inspiring route options, this one covering a total of 296 miles), the journey begins in Blackheath, proceeding through the rolling countryside of Kent (before the short ferry from Dover to Calais) and then follows a route along quiet roads through villages and small towns before heading to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. An added bonus is that each of the three rides will be in time to view the spectacular finale of the 2015 Tour de France!

Chris will be able to share his memories with his father who’s joining him (and has just celebrated his 65th birthday) and fellow members of the Bristol BS10 cycling club, started by friend Kevin Dunn. 

“We were all very eager to sign up for London to Paris”, said Chris, “Action Medical Research is a charity very close to our hearts and one that’s well worth committing a lot of time and effort into fundraising for.”

The Bristol-based BS10 Cycling Club ethos is that they’re a club for all ages and abilities and that they all start together and finish together. 

- ENDS -

Download a photograph of Harry (post-operation) at http://www.action.org.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/press/harry_post_op_st_michaels.jpg

Download up-to-date photograph of Chris, his bike, Catherine and Harry




For information about necrotising enterocolitis, please visit action.org.uk/necrotising-enterocolitis

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Action Medical Research is a UK-wide charity saving and changing children’s lives through medical research.

We want to make a difference in:

tackling premature birth and treating sick and vulnerable babies
helping children affected by disability, disabling conditions and infections
targeting rare diseases that together severely affect many forgotten children.

Just one breakthrough, however small, can mean the world. action.org.uk

Charity reg.nos 208701 and SC039284.

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