Dad’s marathon effort for children’s charity

Niall Parfitt raised �2,665 for the Childrens Heartbeat Trust by running both the Belfast and Dublin marathons.
Niall Parfitt raised �2,665 for the Childrens Heartbeat Trust by running both the Belfast and Dublin marathons.

A Banbridge man completed the Dublin and Belfast Marathons raising an incredible £2,665 for a charity which supported his family as his son underwent treatment for a serious heart condition.

Niall Parfitt got his running shoes on and completed both gruelling races earlier this year.

His son Niall was only seven weeks old when he became ill with a serious congenital heart defect TAPVD and had to undergo major surgery in London.

The charity provides support groups and accommodation for those with family attending the Royal Hospital’s Clark Clinic, Northern Ireland’s only regional specialist unit.

He and his family received vital emotional and practical support from the Trust which offers financial support for the families of babies and young people undergoing treatment in hospital.

Niall told the Leader that the charity provided invaluable support during an incredibly difficult time for the family.

He said: ““The plan was to raise £500, but it was amazing, friends from Banbridge. The support I received, it was phenomenal, it was incredible.

“You see the real benefit of a charity after going through something like that, they were just enormous support and remain an enormous support. It’s nice to give something back to a charity that have given us some support.

“My aim is just to keep on helping them, it’s a charity close to my heart.”

Niall decided that the best way to raise money would be to run a marathon despite being a running novice. Incredibly, not only did he complete the Belfast marathon, he then completed the Dublin Marathon a few months later.

He said: “I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t run the length of myself up until a year ago but doing a marathon was always in the back of my mind. They were both extremely emotional, unbelieveable experiences. I’m still in recovery mode after Dublin, I was very sore afterwards but it was a fanatastic experience.”