11 exercise classes in one day for GOSH

Mark and Tegan
GOSH dad Mark outclassed everyone with his fitness-focused fundraising, raising an amazing total of £1,600!

The reason behind the fundraising

Mark started fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) because his daughter, Tegan, has been treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) since she was born. He’s set a personal target of raising an incredible £12,000 for GOSH Charity before Tegan turns 13, and his most recent challenge was doing 11 exercise classes in one day back in February!

He tells us: “We first came to GOSH before Tegan was born after our local hospitals had indicated her Down’s syndrome and heart issues. This was mainly so we could be reassured of her quality of life and that the heart repair would be something that could be performed. “Tegan has Down’s syndrome, and a lot of the associated problems that are common in children with the condition. She was diagnosed with a complete atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) and tetralogy of Fallot – both are congenital heart defects causing holes in the heart and other abnormalities – and from a young age she had problems keeping her oxygen saturation levels up. This meant she regularly had to be given oxygen at home. She also had issues with water in her lungs.” 

Tegan’s time at GOSH 

Tegan’s first operation at GOSH was when she was five months old, where a double stent was fitted in her pulmonary artery. This allowed her to grow enough to have a full heart repair. 

Then, “the complete AVSD and tetralogy of Fallot repair happened at 15 months and her chest was left open under a patch for five days after surgery while she stayed in intensive care,” Mark says. “From there, we were transferred to the wards, and then the local hospital in Bedford. 

“We were put up in the family accommodation very local to GOSH and this was a great help, especially while she was in intensive care in the cardiac ward. A place for us to take a break and rest knowing she was only five minutes away.” 
Tegan has also had various minor operations at GOSH, to resolve her lung issues and difficulty swallowing. Now, she comes to the hospital for regular check-ups. 

Thriving now 

“Tegan is thriving now – she’s a real character. She has a twin sister, and three other older siblings. We like to go swimming, since her swallowing issues were resolved, and she normally likes to go to the park, farm and zoo – the simple things in life,” he says. 

“Her condition no longer affects our day to day life too much. We are at GOSH for regular check-ups with the Ear, Nose and Throat team and the Speech and Language Therapy team. Tegan also has cardiac check-ups once a year through GOSH at our local hospital, and she is under the dentistry department for an upcoming removal operation.” 

Amazing atmosphere 

“We absolutely love the amazing staff, atmosphere and support we have had from GOSH over the years. From the guidance and support we had before she was born and for every visit since. 

“We feel lucky, because I know there are children at the hospital who never have the chance to go home. We are able now to pop in and out for check-ups and minor operations, which isn’t the case for everyone.” 

Let the fundraising begin! 

“I decided to start fundraising for GOSH as soon as we were involved with the hospital but more so after her heart surgery when we saw first-hand how many people are involved in just one operation. 

“That alone spurred me on to set a personal target of £12,000 before Tegan grows into a teenager, to at least pay back a small amount of what it has cost for her treatment.  

“I say that my daughter has been treated by the hospital for the last five years and my fundraising can only start to repay what they have given to us. 

“I try to do an event every year or so, usually sport-related as I am fitness manager in the gym. So I have done team rowing all day, ran a marathon and eleven exercise classes in one day.” 

Mark gave us one of his top tips for keeping healthy at home: “You can access apps and home workouts all over the internet to keep the body and mind healthy during time at home. I’ve just been training with Tegan in my home gym!”  

Thank you for all your hard work fundraising, Mark. We’re really excited to see what you do next!