Final countdown is on for young dad’s epic Glasgow to Aberdeen run

30/05/2024
Paula, Andrew and Nancie

A North-east dad is preparing to set off from Ronald McDonald House Glasgow at 7am this Saturday – and he won’t stop running until he reaches the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital at around 7pm the following day.

Andrew Smith (29) is taking on the awe-inspiring challenge to raise funds for both The Archie Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Glasgow in recognition of the support he and his partner, Nancie, received following the premature birth of their son, Louie.

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Born in September 2023 at just 28 weeks, Louie was later found to have an extremely rare genetic condition. This resulted in him spending the first few months of his life in hospital in both Aberdeen and Glasgow.

The two charities provided free accommodation to allow Andrew and Nancie to stay nearby.

Speaking about the support he and Nancie received from The Archie Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Glasgow, Andrew said: “It’s hard to put into words just how much the support we received while Louie was in hospital means to us. It was invaluable being able to stay close to Louie, not having to think about it or make arrangements at a time when our thoughts were consumed with worry about our baby boy. It’s a debt I will never be able to repay.

“Running from Glasgow to Aberdeen combines one of my passions with raising as much money as possible for The Archie Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Glasgow.”

To date, Andrew’s fundraising has reached more than £23,000 but the determined dad is hoping to reach his target of £50,000, with donations including £5,000 from his employer Score Group.

“I’m incredibly thankful to everyone who has either donated to my fundraiser or who has helped to raise awareness of what I am doing,” he said.  “As well as wanting to raise money for the charities I also want to ensure as many people as possible are aware of the support that the two charities provide – it made the world of difference to Nancie and I during a very difficult time.”

Despite a recent injury, ultra-marathon runner Andrew is ready for the challenge.

“Training has gone well and I’m counting down to the weekend and to pulling on my running shoes and actually taking on the challenge I have been working towards since I first came up with the idea while running along the River Clyde while Louie was in hospital,” added Andrew. “The sense of achievement when I see Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital at the end of the run will be something else!”

The journey will be around 165 miles, with a route taking in Glasgow, Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Montrose, Arbroath, Stonehaven and Aberdeen.

Andrew plans to run it in one go, with food stops on the way and micro naps at the side of the road – but no overnight stops.

He will be joined on some of the legs by friends and other supporters.

Nancie and baby Louie – who is now home from hospital and doing well – will be at the finish line at the doors of the neonatal unit on Sunday evening to greet Andrew as he arrives back in Aberdeen.

The Archie Foundation aims to transform experiences and outcomes in healthcare and bereavement for babies, children and families across North Scotland, including the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, Tayside Children’s Hospital and the Highland Children’s Unit.

Paula Cormack, chief executive of The Archie Foundation, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Andrew for taking on such an ambitious and amazing fundraising challenge. Our share of the proceeds will go directly to supporting other babies, children and their families at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and the neonatal unit where Louie has been cared for. We wish Andrew lots of luck with the run this weekend and look forward to welcoming him back on Sunday.” 

Ronald McDonald House Glasgow, an independent Scottish charity with no government funding, provides free accommodation to families whose seriously ill child is being treated at the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow and other hospitals in the West of Scotland.

Ken Simpson, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Glasgow, said: “Thanks to the generosity of fantastic supporters like Andrew we can keep our door open and keep families together when it matters most. We want to thank Andrew for taking on such an ambitious and inspiring fundraising challenge. The money that Andrew raises through his challenge will allow us to support families from across Scotland and further afield enabling them to stay close to their seriously ill child. We want to wish Andrew all the very best for his challenge.” 

For more information about Andrew’s challenge and to make a donation, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/andrews-big-run-for-louie

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