A DAD is gearing up to make a mad dash to raise cash for the unit that helped his children in their fight for life.
Michael Brown is preparing for next month’s gruelling feat, which will see him and two pals take on two bike rides – the C2C (Coast to Coast) and W2W (Walney to Wear) back-to-back in just 48 hours.
The challenge – The Mad Dash – is the latest in a series of fund-raisers the dad-of-two has carried out to raise funds for Sunderland Royal Hospital’s neo-natal unit.
Michael and his wife Danielle, both 34, aim to raise more than £22,000 to pay for two incubators at the unit after their twins Molly and Jake, now six, were born 10 weeks premature.
The youngsters spent their first nine weeks battling for survival, with Molly born weighing 1lb 11oz and Jake weighing 3lb 5oz.
He said: “We don’t think anyone has ever done the two rides together before so it’s going to be quite a challenge, but it will be worth it.
“We want to highlight how much the neo-natal unit does, and how grateful we are by giving something back. It’s the least we can do.
“We also want Molly and Jake to know just how lucky they are, and what the doctors and nurses at the hospital did for them.”
On January 28, 2006, the youngsters, who are now the picture of health, were born by Caesarean section with the help of a team of 11 medics.
Michael and Danielle, of Seaburn, had spent four years trying for a family and two attempts at IVF.
Danielle said: “They were so tiny when they were born, and we didn’t know what was going to happen.
“The hospital was fantastic and we’re so grateful.”
Hoping to raise more than £4,000 towards their target, Michael will set off on the ride with pals Dan Abraham, 33, and Mark Fullard, 37, on May 26.
The trio of cyclists will set off from Sunderland to Barrow in Furness in the early hours of May 26.
They will spend the night there, before hitting the road from Whitehaven for the return Coast to Coast route.
Michael would like to thank everyone who has offered their support. He can be contacted on email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.