A BIG-HEARTED runner is set to take part in a punishing race through the Gobi Desert to raise money for the charity that helped his deaf niece.
Mike Hancock, from Tranent, hopes to raise up to £10,000 for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) which provided a lifeline to nine-year-old Emily when she started to lose her hearing.
The epic test of endurance begins on May 31 and will see the 43-year-old take on the notorious seven-day foot race which includes a marathon through the sweltering heat of the world’s fifth largest desert for each of the first four days, followed by a double marathon on the fifth day, with competitors also carrying all their belongings.
Mike, a director at city-based Cornhill Building Services, has already completed several marathons, but this 155-mile race in a climate where temperatures can reach 50C – and plunge to below freezing at night – will be his most gruelling challenge so far.
He said: “Although really looking forward to the challenge, I’m apprehensive at the same time. It’s going to involve a lot of pain and suffering, but I am going to an amazing part of the world and it’s all for a great cause.”
The tough conditions are likely to see Mike burn more than 6000 calories every day, and he will also need to take in around a litre of fluids every hour during the race to avoid dehydrating.
“Whenever I am struggling I will think about what Emily deals with every day and what I am going through will pale into insignificance,” he said.
“NDCS has been a fantastic source of help to the family so I wanted to do something to support the work they do across the UK with deaf children and their families.”
Emily, of Gilberstoun in the Capital, has been deaf since she was two-and-a-half and eventually lost her hearing completely.
But the St John’s Primary School pupil has since received bilateral cochlear implants, and when they were switched on she heard sound for the first time in almost nine months.
Mike said: “She functions now as if she was any normal little girl. When people speak she hears ‘beeps’ but she can decipher them into language.
“She’s great and it’s amazing to see her cope.
“Sometimes you forget she has a disability. She is full of fun and gets into trouble.”
The NDCS is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to helping deaf children and their families. There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK and the society aims to helps them by providing practical and emotional support to them and their families, and by challenging governments and society to meet their needs.
Clare Salter, NDCS head of community, corporate and events fundraising, said every penny Mike raises will help the charity deliver services for families, including emotional support and much-needed information for parents about their child’s deafness.
She said: “We are very grateful to thrill-seekers like Mike who go the extra mile to help us improve the lives of deaf children and their families. Without this kind of backing the charity simply couldn’t provide the support it does.”