‘They saved her and they saved us’: Grateful father tackling 40 challenges for Royal Brompton Hospital

A dad whose daughter’s life was saved by the Royal Brompton Hospital is showing his gratitude by tackling 40 fundraising sporting events in a year.

Steve Marwood, from Medway, is marking his 40th birthday by taking part in 40 events from marathons to triathlons for charity.

His eldest daughter Honor was born with a heart condition in 2007 and spent five weeks of her life in the Chelsea hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

“Simply put, Honor’s life was saved at the Brompton,” he said.

“They cared for our daughter as if she were the most important child in the world and could not have done more.

“They saved her and they saved us. We are eternally grateful and have said this to them many times.”

The business manager was inspired to do the challenge after reading a book, Hell and High Water, by an adventurer, Sean Conway, who has run, swam and cycled the length of Britain.

Steve, whose birthday is March 17, said: “I was conscious of being 40 and I didn’t want to turn into one of those fat dads who can’t run with their children to kick a football.

“Then I read that book while we were on holiday and it completely opened my eyes to the idea of doing something more adventurous.

“I’d love to take three months off and cycle across Europe or something like that for the Brompton but that’s never going to happen with a wife, two children and a full time job.

“I realised I do have weekends for myself, or at least when my wife allows me to have the weekend for myself.

“I had a chat with her and we came up with the idea of not just doing an Iron Man, but doing lots of events over the year.”

While Steve regularly takes part in triathlons, he knows 40 events in a year is going to take it out of his body.

“I’m very excited about it. I’m ready. But I’m also slightly apprehensive for a couple of reasons,” he added.

I didn’t want to turn into one of those fat dads who can’t run with their children to kick a football

“Staying fit for a whole year is going to be as much of a challenge as anything.

“I had a couple of injuries last year which I’m over now, but twisted ankles tend to mean your ankle will be weak for the rest of your life.

“I’m also worried about generally organising everything to make sure I turn up at the start line on time, ready to run, ride or swim.

“I love the romance now, I’m absolutely in love with the idea of doing it, but if you ask me again in six months, we’ll see.”

The year will not only be special for Steve and his wife Lauren because of his fundraising activities though, the couple are expecting their third child in May.

He said: “In October we found out that we’re going to have our third child this year, which was completely unplanned, so we’re throwing that into the mix as well.

“The baby is due in May, so it’s going to be even more of a challenge to physically get out of the house with three children.

“But I didn’t set myself this challenge because it would be easy, I set it because it’s going to be difficult.

“I genuinely want to do it and I hope I can raise a lot of money for Brompton along the way.”

Alongside his 40 challenges, he will also be riding from the hospital to Land’s End with two other cyclists and a driver, starting on March 31, in a hugely symbolic ride for Steve.

He said: “When you get to Brompton, because your child is so unwell you feel like your world is over and you’ve reached the end of the world.

“Many years ago when people weren’t so educated as they are now, they thought that Land’s End was the end of the world.

“I want to ride to the end of the world and come back smiling and happy with a big cheque for loads of money.

“I want to show that Brompton isn’t the end of the world, it’s just a place that fixes people and starts your life rather than finishes it.”

Steve’s first event is Kelly’s Riverside Run, a 10km run in Guildford, on March 19.

You can keep up to date with Steve’s progress on Twitter using the hashtag #steves40for40 or at

Image courtesy of Steve Marwood, with thanks

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