A MAN from Weymouth is taking on an epic trek to raise money in memory of his niece Lucy who tragically died aged just five days.
Lucy died five years ago at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) after suffering from the incredibly rare respiratory condition Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia (ACD).
It is the abnormal development of the alveoli in the lungs, making it impossible to breathe without the help of machines.
Due to the condition, Lucy also had a twisted stomach, a missing gall bladder and her lungs were not fully formed.
Only one person in a million suffers from the illness and in memory of his niece and to say thanks to the staff at GOSH, Iain Rowsell will take on the Thames Path Challenge of walking 100km alongside the river over two days.
To just take part in the challenge on Saturday, September 13 Mr Rowsell, who lives in Littlemoor, must raise a minimum of £375 but is determined to raise the funds and to conquer the challenge.
He said: “Lucy was born with the condition, her lungs didn’t work properly and over the five days before she died she was kept alive by machines at the hospital.
“She was one of only six people to die from the condition that year, which just shows how rare the condition is and because it is so rare there is not much research done into it.
“We are five years down the line now since her death, but it still reverberates through the family every day.
“I always remember after we all said goodbye and they switched off the machine, it was a collective silence with the whole family. Everybody was feeling the sadness together.”
It is not the first charity challenge Mr Rowsell, 33, has completed in memory of Lucy. In 2010 he walked the Great Wall of China, where he met his wife Vicky and they now have a nine-month-old son.
Mr Rowsell added: “You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy what happened to Lucy.
“I chose Great Ormond Street Hospital because that’s where Lucy received treatment and I have to say the staff were great. There were all these babies wired up to machines and there was obviously a mixture of great happiness and the staff were all very professional so this is my way of saying thank you to them.”
For more information or to donate, visit justgiving.com/iain-rowsell1.