Brothers’ five epic fundraisers

Ivy Mitchell, of Helpringham.
Ivy Mitchell, of Helpringham.

The father and uncle of a Helpringham girl with a life-limiting condition are to tackle five 60-mile-plus fundraisers in five months inspired by her.

Lee Mitchell, 39, of Helpringham, and brother Mark, 38, of Grimsby, are to take on the ‘ultra marathons’ between May and September.

They are the 106km Isle of Wight Challenge, the 100km London to Brighton Challenge, the 100km Grand Union Challenge, 100km London 2 Cambridge Challenge and 100km Thams Path Challenge.

There are also plans for a 192-mile coast to coast off-road mountain bike ride.

The inspiration for the challenge is Lee’s two-year-old daughter Ivy.

Ivy has di George syndrome, a genetic disorder also referred to as 22q11.2 deletion.

It can manifest itself in a number of ways, but in Ivy it has lead to such issues as: significant heart problems (she has already undergone open heart surgery and is scheduled to do so again this year), difficulties with breathing (she relies on the use of a tracheostomy and also has a ventilator beside her bed) and low immunity. It saw Ivy spend the first year of her life in hospital.

There may be further challenges to come, though.

“She could have learning difficulties, she might not,” Lee said. “There are things we don’t know about yet until she starts getting to that age group. There is such a wide spectrum with this sndrome. Ivy is at the extreme end so we are constantly finding things out.”

Lee, a martial arts instructor, paid tribute, however, to Ivy’s spirit.

He said: “She has got an amazing strength of character, which is why she is still around here today.”

He added: “She is very cheeky, very outgoing, she is constantly on the go, which is lovely to see - most of the first year was spent lying in hospital. She is an amazing little girl, very inspirational.”

Proceeds from the ‘ultra marathons’ will go to Max Appeal, a charity which supports families such as Lee’s. Lee and Mark are hoping to raise £5,000 for the cause.

Lee, a father to three with wife Dorne, said: “As a father I can’t even describe what it is like to stand by and be helpless, as a parent I’m suppose to protect my daughter, stop any hurt, take away her fears and kiss away the tears.

“Ivy has more than most and I can’t fix it, and that is exceptionally hard to cope with, so this is the only way I know how to actively do something, to be able to make a difference in the long term to Ivy and others like her.”

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