This is not a baby race! But we are doing it for our baby!
Having a baby is a magical experience in anyone’s life. You just never know how much more love you can give until you meet that little, helpless bundle of wonder. And you rarely think about what will happen if all doesn’t go to plan.
So when we recently got word that Luke Matthews was competing at Adventurethon Demolish, Clarence Valley we were unaware at the time of the value of what he was planning. You see, Luke and his wife Sarah almost lost their little baby girl when she was born less than 24 weeks gestation. And with a lot of support from their hospital little Chloe was saved. She still has quite a journey ahead of her. But Luke & Sarah are very grateful for their baby’s life.
So Luke, along with his mate Scott (also a dad of a premmie baby) and cousin Rhys got together and decided to take on a challenge. This November 25 & 26 each of them will take on the Ultimate Demolish Enduro event in the Clarence Valley region with a goal to raise funds for the hospitals that saved their babies. This event will see them complete 22.5km mountain bike ride, 11km adventure run and 9km paddle over two days. They’ve set up a fundraising page to help with this (see link at bottom of page).
Luke is looking forward to the challenge. He says, “While I’ve done a number of obstacle course events, I haven’t done anything quite like this before. Mountain Biking is a new challenge, and my kayaking experiences, while positive, are all too few. The thing I’ve done most of is run, and my army reserve mates will tell you I’m not much good at that either. Am I worried? No. I am excited, and determined.”
Chloe Denise Matthews was born to Luke and Sarah Matthews on the 20th of June, 2017, at 23 weeks and 5 days.
Luke shares “For the first five months of Sarah’s pregnancy, we had no idea anything untoward would occur. A regular 20 week ultrasound revealed that our bub was in extreme danger of being born at any time. Sarah was immediately put on bed rest, and we nervously settled into hospital-life for the next few weeks, hoping and praying that our little girl would stay in there until at least 23 weeks, because she would not survive if she came before then. We endured one bout of labour that miraculously stopped, a failed procedure to try and buy us some more time, and multiple scares with bleeds and cramping. We spent days hovering between hope that all would be all right, and quiet resignation that our baby wouldn’t live past her first few hours. However, thanks to the prayers of hundreds and the remarkable care of the medical team dedicated to our unborn baby’s well-being, we made it to 23 weeks and 5 days, when Chloe was born right into the arms of a team of highly-specialised doctors and nurses, who revived her and set about giving her the best possible care.”
That would be enough stress for new mum & dad, but Chloe would come to need life saving treatment at the hospital again.
At the four-week mark, Chloe came down with a very serious gut infection known as Necrotizing Enterocolitis (or NEC) which has a high morbidity rate in premature babies. Thanks to the quick actions of both the NICU’s at both Liverpool and Randwick Hospitals, Chloe was brought back from the brink of death with a very successful operation, which removed 27 cm of dead bowel.
“We are now learning to care for Chloe as she poos through a stoma in her side, until she is old enough and strong enough for her intestines to be re-attached. Chloe is flourishing thanks to the quick actions of the doctors, surgeons and specialist nurses who thrived in a prolonged and extremely high-pressure situation. She has other hurdles still to face, but Chloe is alive today because of these two wonderful NICU’s, and myself, Sarah, and Chloe’s big brother Jaxen are eternally grateful,“adds Luke.
With the help of his cousin Rhys and close mate Scott, who has also fathered a premature child, Luke is committed to completing the Clarence Valley Adventurethon, with the goal of raising as much money as possible for the outstanding NICU’s and Liverpool and Randwick hospitals, so future premature babies have every chance of receiving the care and expertise that Chloe has benefited from. We thank you for your support. A child may survive one day because of your donation.
We at Adventurethon are very proud to support them in this journey and wish Chloe continued health and strength. If you would like to come and race and STILL donate to Luke’s campaign, a percentage of the cost of your entry fee will be donated directly to their fundraiser if you use the code: ‘lukeshospitalcampaign’
Alternatively, if you want to make a donation to their cause the link is HERE.
More info on Adventurethon Clarence Valley HERE.