[T]he Cumberland Infirmary will host a baton exchange as cyclists travelling from Chorley hand over to walkers who will cover the length of Hadrian’s Wall.
The Bodie Hodges Foundation has organised The Great North Challenge, a cross-country relay, which runs from 31 August until 10 September, to raise funds to buy a holiday home for families to use following the death of their child. They have chosen this week as it coincides with National Organ Transplant Week which runs from 4 – 10 September.
Bodie Hodges died aged 10 months after a choking accident. His heartbroken parents made the decision that he would go on to help others. Bodie went on to become an organ donor and saved the lives of four other babies.
A team of four cyclists, three swimmers, five walkers and 17 runners will cover a total distance of over 450 miles via Bodie’s Boathouse, Rainbows Hospice, the Cumberland Infirmary, Hadrian’s Wall, Newcastle Freemans Hospital and finally the Great North Run.
On Sunday 3 September, the cycling team will arrive at the Cumberland Infirmary at around 4.00pm to hand the baton over to a team who will walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
Nick Hodges, founder of the Bodie Hodges Foundation and Bodie’s father, said: “One of our main aims since the Bodie Hodges Foundation was founded was to raise the awareness of organ donation and get more people to sign up to the register.
“We are passionate about trying to make more people understand just how important it is to get more donors registered and the difference it can make too many people’s lives.
“The Great North Challenge is just one of the ways in which we are trying to influence a move to an ‘opt out’ system for organ donation.”
Through a campaign the Bodie Hodges Foundation ran in partnership with ‘A Million Likes for Matthew’, a successful kidney donor was found for Matthew Pietrzyk at the 2014 Great North Run. Matthew was an eight year old boy who had to spend 12 hours a day on dialysis until a match was found. Now 11, Matthew is living the life of a normal boy of his age following his successful transplant just over a year ago.
Nicola Pietrzyk, co-founder of ‘A Million Likes for Matthew’ and Matthew’s mother understands fully the impact organ donation can have: “On 28 July 2016, Matthew was fortunate enough to be given the chance to live a real life because a special person decided to donate an organ to him. After spending nearly eight years waiting and needing daily dialysis to stay alive, this precious gift has given Matthew the chance to be what he always wanted to be; a normal boy.
“Organ Donation has given him and our family, a new lease of life. We couldn’t be happier and are thoroughly making the most of every day.”
If you would like to find out more about the challenge and how the Bodie Hodges Foundation supports Organ Donation, please go to www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/gnchallenge