When Rosie Fletcher was born at 29 weeks she weighed just 2lbs 8oz.
Parents Craig Fletcher and Shelly Lockhart watched on helplessly as their first born spent 46 days in the neonatal unit in Aberdeen following a stint in intensive care after birth.
Rosie was nearly three months premature when she was born on November 6, 2021 and the situation was made all the more unbearable when both parents contracted Covid during a very difficult time.
However, due to the care and support of the neonatal unit at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, Rosie survived.
In recognition and to support the work of the neonatal unit and the Archie Foundation, Mr Fletcher is attempting the mammoth task of running 46km across 46 separate days during 2022 to mark each day his daughter spent in hospital.
Mr Fletcher said: “I felt like I had to give back for all the help we received when Rosie was born. She was in intensive care for about two weeks but, she stayed on the neonatal ward for 46 days.
“As a result of that, I decided to do the 46 kilometres 46 times over 2022 with a fundraising goal of £4,600.”
Covid nightmare and hospital precautions
It was a difficult time for the new parents as they had both caught Covid before Miss Lockhart went into hospital as a precaution.
Hospital precautions prevented the couple from seeing Rosie for 24 hours following her birth. The couple live in Keith, so they stayed in the hospital accommodation while waiting to bring Rosie home.
Thankful for the support they received from the team at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital and the Archie Foundation, they decided to fundraise to show their gratitude.
They had discovered that many of “the little extras in the ward” were being supplied through the Archie Foundation.
46km, 46 times for £4,600
Mr Fletcher recalled the lead up to Rosie’s birth saying that his partner, Miss Lockhart, went to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin because something didn’t feel quite right with the baby’s movements.
He said: “Within a couple of hours she was sent in an ambulance across to Aberdeen and the indication she gave me was that it wasn’t anything serious, it was just a precaution.
“I was at home when I got a call from Shelly to say that the medics want me to come in. At that stage, my thoughts were still that this was not anything serious.
“Once I had arrived, they were insistent that the baby needed to be delivered, so we went ahead with it.
“From the moment that Rosie was born, there was a lot of emotions with becoming parents for the first time, but Rosie was small at just over a kilogram, so she was in intensive care from the beginning.
“You aren’t really thinking about anything other than the next couple of hours, but after everything we went through, I wanted to give back.”
The mammoth challenge
Having started the challenge in the first week of January, Mr Fletcher has completed five separate 46km runs, the most recent occurring on February 10.
He completed the run with an impressive time of just over five hours. He likes to run through nature which has been helpful for his mental health.
His most recent run took him around and up the Meikle Balloch, which has an elevation of over 550ft making the challenge even harder.
‘We love being a little family’
Mr Fletcher explained how running has also helped him cope with his own struggles.
He said: “Around two years ago, I signed up to do my first ultra-marathon, but it got cancelled due to the pandemic.
“But I did find the training really helped me with my own mental health and physical wellbeing, so from that point onwards, I discovered running was a good pastime for me.
“For me, I find running, particularly in nature, very therapeutic, and also by doing these runs, I have also been able to meet up with others, so I try to involve friends and family into the challenge as well.”
With the family now living back home in Keith, Mr Fletcher explained what it was like becoming a family unit.
He said: “We have had some struggles with sleepless nights but, Rosie is home and she is putting on loads of weight.
“We love being a little family and we are all at home now because, obviously, the first couple of months of Rosie’s life – and our life as parents – was spent in a hospital.
“No one wants to start life off in that way, but through the Archie Foundation and the help we received with the NHS, that has given Rosie the best possible start in life.”
To check out the JustGiving page set up to support Mr Fletcher’s cause click here.