Dad’s Siberian trek fundraiser after his daughter was ‘frozen’ to save her life

A grateful dad is looking for fellow explorers to join an epic trek to give back to the charity that helped his family when his baby daughter was receiving life-saving treatment in hospital in Brighton.

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 7:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 7:44 pm
Greg Bower, wife Mel and daughter Ellie, when she received the life-saving treatment in Brighton

Greg Bower’s daughter Ellie was born suffering from perinatal asphyxia and was rushed to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital, which was miles away from the family’s home in Surrey.

Greg quickly needed to find a place for he and his wife Mel to stay. Mel was herself recovering from lifesaving surgery after giving birth, so they also needed room for Greg’s mum, Sandy, to be there to help.

They were introduced to the Ronald McDonald House charity, a free ‘home away from home’ for families of children being treated at partnered NHS hospitals.

Remembering the experience in 2012, Greg said: “We spent just under a week at Ronald McDonald House Brighton and the impact had a lasting effect on us. We will always be indebted to the wonderful staff at the Brighton House who offered us a welcoming and calm sanctuary at a time of great stress.”

Ellie received a unique treatment in hospital, which involved being cooled to 33.3 degrees centigrade on an active cooling mat in order to fight off her illness.

Now Greg has decided to try to raise £50,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities by taking on a 200-mile fundraising trek across Lake Baikal in February 2022. Lake Baikal is the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume and in February the average minimum temperature is -20 degrees centigrade.

Greg, 40, who now lives in Kent, said: “As Ellie was ‘frozen’ after being born, the cold helping to give her body time and space to heal, it seems fitting that I undertake this challenge in one of the coldest places on Earth.

“We want to give back to Ronald McDonald House Charities UK and raise money for this fantastic Charity who were really there for us in our time of need. I can’t wait to take on this challenge and hope to find six intrepid adventurers to join me!”