Worthing dad completes ‘brutal’ David Goggins challenge for Rockinghorse Children’s Charity as a thank you for his daughter’s care

A Worthing dad has completed a mammoth challenge, ‘the most brutal thing’ he has ever done, to raise money for the hospital that cared for his baby daughter.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 10:53 am

Dan Cassidy, 39, ran four miles every four hours over a total of 48 hours for Rockinghorse Children’s Charity and has so far raised £2,480.

His daughter Darcie was cared for at the Trevor Mann Baby Unit after she was born not breathing and Dan wanted to raise money for the children’s charity as a way of thanking its staff, who are part of the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton.

Dan said: “Whilst I managed to complete the challenge, it was without doubt the most brutal thing I’ve ever done. What kept me going through the hardest and lowest parts was raising money for such an incredible cause and the amazing support from all my family and friends.

Dan Cassidy ran four miles every four hours over 48 hours for Rockinghorse Children’s Charity

“I didn’t have any expectations about how much I would raise. I’ve been overwhelmed by people’s kindness and generosity. I guess such a worthy cause makes it easier to donate but thanks to everyone who has supported me.”

Dan and his partner Joanna Renoize were living in Hove when they were expecting Darcie. The 72-hour labour was long, hard and traumatic, and as Darcie was born, there were complications. She arrived not breathing and was rushed straight to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit for treatment.

Dan said: “This was without doubt the scariest thing we’ve ever been through. I was powerless to help the most important thing in the world to me when she needed me.

“Having a baby is scary enough without any complications and for the week that Darcie was in the TMBU, the doctors, nurses and every single member of staff were absolutely incredible. The nurses were there to reassure us whilst we sat terrified by her bedside day and night. The care Darcie received was second to none and we are eternally grateful to every single member of staff.

Darcie was cared for at to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit after she was born not breathing

“Thankfully Darcie has grown into the most incredible, kind, funny and caring little girl I could have ever hoped her to be. She is slightly crazy right now but I’m told that’s how most three-year-olds are. She is a bundle of energy and wants to run and play constantly.”

Dan had wanted to give something back to the hospital from the start but, being busy with the family, it has only been more recently that he has found time to get back to running.

He said: “I was halfway through reading the book Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins and I was amazed at the mental and physical strength he has. That was when I heard about the 4x4x48 challenge, running four miles every four hours for 48 hours, and decided I wanted to give it a go.

“The further I got into the book, the more I realised I was taking on a challenge set by a machine/madman and the closer I got to doing the challenge the more I realise I should have given this a bit more thought.”

Dan Cassidy with partner Joanna Renoize and their daughter Darcie, now three

Dan used six different routes, around Worthing, Shoreham, Hove and Brighton, and managed to keep going to the end.

He said: “ I don’t allow myself to think about what might have been had it not been for the incredible doctors and nurses in the TMBU that day and for the two weeks that followed. But Jo and I are eternally grateful for what they have done for our little girl and the kindness they showed us during our time there.”

The funds Dan has raised will go towards equipment that can help other babies like Darcie.

Lucy Pond, challenge events manager at Rockinghorse, said: “What Dan has done is incredible. I was aware of this challenge before but didn’t know anyone who was prepared to undertake it, so when I heard about Dan doing it to support Rockinghorse I was really impressed.”

Dan Cassidy with his brother John Cassidy and friends Ross Gaffney and David Godding