Why we're running for Little Havens

Echo: Running mates – Matthew and Frank after they finished the half marathon in aid of Little Havens. Running mates – Matthew and Frank after they finished the half marathon in aid of Little Havens.

TWO friends pulled on their running shoes to raise money for the hospice which cared for a four-month-old baby boy before his death last year.

Matthew Marshall, 30 and Frank Sweeney, 29, both from Basildon, broke in their running shoes in their first half marathon last weekend.

They did it in memory of Matthew’s baby son, Reggie, who died in September.

The friends, who both work for Public Sewer Services, ran the Silverstone half marathon on Sunday, March 2, in aid of Little Havens Hospice, Thundersley, where little Reggie was cared for during his short, tragic life.

Not long after he was born, on May 24, Matthew and Reggie’s mum, Carly Milsom, noticed his breathing was irregular and he’d stopped moving his arms and legs. Two months later, he was diagnosed with the most severe formof spinal muscular atrophy.

His parents were given the devastating news their little boy had only a few months to live and referred to Little Havens for a respite break.

During their stay, Reggie’s condition worsened by the day.

Carly said: “Little Havens took over Reggie’s medicine and feeds. I can’t explain how it felt.

“Theywere angels who just let me be a mum. I remember the nurse telling me to go and have dinner and when I came back to Reggie’s room, she was holding his hand singing to him and giving him a cuddle. He was in pain, but they kept him comfortable.”

Reggie died peacefully in his mother’s arms, just after midnight on September 30.

Carly said: “I never dreamed what Little Havens would be like. From the very beginning, it looked after our whole family and gave us longer to be with Reggie.

“It wasn’t a relief, by any means, but he wasn’t suffering anymore. Going to Little Havens was the best thing we did.”

After deciding to run the half marathon for the hospice, Matthew and Frank crossed the finishing line together, completing the course, at the famous Northamptonshire motor racing circuit, in just under two hours.

Matthew said: “We’d never done anything like this before, but wanted to do something for Reggie and for the hospice.

“It was raining and it was tough, but our motivation was always Little Havens and that got us to the finishing line.

“There were only three of us fundraising for Little Havens, so we felt really proud to be representing the charity. We actually ended up enjoying it so much that we’ve signed up to run the Southend Half Marathon now, too.”

The friends’ efforts to date have raised £500, though donations are still welcome via justgiving.

com/Frank-Sweeney Runners can also sign up to run for Team Havens in the Bupa London 10K event on May 25. For details, call Emma Hamilton on 01702 220308.

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