Frome man sets-off on marathon challenge in memory of daughter

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Chris Bale, with AnaBellaImage source, Chris Bale
Image caption,
Chris is taking on the challenge in memory of his daughter AnaBella

A bereaved father is aiming to complete 28 marathons in 28 days in memory of his prematurely born daughter.

Chris Bale's daughter AnaBella was born after 25 weeks and died on 19 May 2018, just 28 days old.

He is fundraising for the Bristol Children's Hospital and bereavement charities, as well as promoting awareness of baby loss and miscarriage.

"Something like this isn't something you can get over, it's something you learn to carry," said Mr Bale.

He had originally planned to complete the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, which finishes in northern Spain, last year but after Covid put a halt to his plans, he will now travel around the south west coast of the UK, taking in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

Image source, Chris Bale
Image caption,
AnaBella was born on 21 April, 2018 and fought for life for 28 days, but was not able to survive

Mr Bale plans to complete his journey on 17 June in his home town of Frome.

His first day involved a lot of battling against the elements thanks to strong winds and rain.

"I was running along the beach and the wind was blowing the sand into my face, the tide was coming in, but when I was running I was thinking about AnaBella and the day when she died.

"If I wanted anything that was symbolic of that day, then running along that beach was very much that. When I was told she was dying so many things came at me physically and emotionally" he said.

Image source, Chris Bale
Image caption,
Chris is raising awareness of baby loss and miscarriage from a father’s perspective

Mr Bale is raising money for Bristol Children's Hospital's Grand Appeal and Cruse Bereavement Care and has raised £3,655 of his current goal of £5,000.

He said the challenge would help him mentally, and he hoped it would encourage others to talk about grief openly.

"It's time for self-care, giving myself permission to grieve. I've remained strong and there for family but I do need a bit of time to myself.

"If I can get just one other person to start talking about their grief I have achieved something," he added.

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