Pair rally to support children's charity after tragic loss
Two lorry drivers from Kent are setting off on a 1,200-mile rally to raise vital funds for Action Medical Research.
Marc Collins, 35, from Herne Bay but originally from Canterbury, and Mark Rogers, 41, from Canterbury, are tackling the Two Ball Banger Rally in August, travelling across nine countries in four days to raise £5,000 for the children’s charity.
The pair were inspired to support Action Medical Research after Marc’s niece sadly died after being born prematurely.
His sister, Leanne Collins, gave birth to twins Sienna and Kyan 12 weeks early at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford in 2011. They were cared for in the Special Care Baby Unit before Sienna was transferred to Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital in London but tragically she passed away from necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) after just 23 days.
Necrotising enterocolitis is a devastating bowel disorder that mainly strikes premature babies. Around three per cent of newborns in neonatal units develop the disorder but, sadly, up to 35 per cent of these babies die and survivors often develop long-term health problems1-2.
The disease typically strikes without warning and by the time it is diagnosed, babies are often already extremely ill. Action Medical Research recently funded a study to help develop a new diagnostic test which could allow babies with NEC to be identified and treated sooner. Researchers hope this will reduce the likelihood of the disease progressing and therefore limit the devastating consequences.
Marc says the whole family backed his decision to raise funds to help Action Medical Research continue its work helping sick and vulnerable babies.
“Kyan is three now and you just can’t keep him still, he bounces all over the place but we’ll always feel the loss of Sienna,” he says. “It turned our family upside down and was the worst experience of our lives, so we wanted to support Action to try to stop something like this happening to other families.”
For the Two Ball Banger Rally from 13-17 August, the duo – known as Two Men in a Shed - will be crossing the UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco in a Volvo estate which was purchased for just £400, well within the limit of £567 set by the organisers of the challenge.
“I’ve driven through all those countries in a truck, but what makes it harder are all the extra challenges we’ve got to do along the way,” adds Marc. “It is going to be tough but it’s worth it when you think about the cause.”
The pair have so far raised £1,424 towards their target of £5,000 - to support their fundraising efforts please visit action.org.uk/sponsor/2meninashed
- ENDS -
- Rees CM, Eaton S, Pierro A. Trends in infant mortality from necrotising enterocolitis in England and Wales and the USA. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2008; 93: F395-6.
- Statnikov Y, Santhakumaran S, Manktelow B, Modi N (on behalf of the Neonatal Data Analysis Unit). Surveillance of necrotising enterocolitis in England, Neonatal Society Abstracts, The Neonatal Society. Website accessed 16 March 2011: http://www.neonatalsociety.ac.uk/abstracts/statnikovy_2010_necsurveillan...
To download high-resolution images to accompany this story, please click on links below:
Little Kyan at Sienna’s grave -
Marc Collins (left) and Mark Rogers in the Volvo -
The banger itself -
For further information on Action Medical Research please contact:
Ellie Evans, Fundraising Communications Officer
T: 01403 327480
Action Medical Research is a leading UK-wide charity working to save and change children’s lives through medical research. We believe that the diseases that devastate the lives of so many of our children can be beaten. We have been funding medical breakthroughs since we began in 1952 like the first polio vaccines in the UK, ultrasound in pregnancy and the rubella vaccine – helping to save thousands of children’s lives and change many more.
Just one breakthrough, however small, can mean the world. Charity reg. nos 208701 and SC039284.