Two dads who struck up a virtual friendship on Facebook are to meet up for the first time for a fundraising walk to help one of their daughters.
Darren Bailey from Irlam and Jake Myers are due to do the 16 mile march to walk from Blackpool Football Club to Preston North End Football Club to help Darren’s daughter, Freya, who has cerebral palsy.
The two men met on the Facebook group page, ‘TeamDad Lancashire’, which is described as a safe space for dads, grandads, step dads and male guardians to support one another.
Darren, 48, described how He met Jake on the group page and they decided to start a fundraiser to help 10-year-old Freya with physiotherapy and several other treatments to help her condition.
Darren said: “I don’t even know Jake, he put a post on Facebook asking if there were any worthy charities we could do something for and I’ve got a little girl with cerebral palsy so he arranged a walk called Freya’s Festive March.
“I already do things in the background with a group called Scooter Grannies where we travel 34 miles a day on scooters dressed as grannies.”
Darren runs an annual event to help Freya and some of his colleagues will be joining TeamDad’s on Freya’s Festive March on December 19.
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Born with the condition cerebral palsy and two holes in her heart due to a difficult birth, Freya needs physiotherapy sessions to aid her in life. However, the treatments are not available on the NHS and they cost around £1,000 per month.
Darren said: “Freya has had three open heart surgeries, she has also had a surgery called selective dorsal rhizotomy which cost us £16,000 which we’ve had to raise funds for through fundraising with the local people of Irlam in Cadishead, where bigger charities have helped us.
“I think when people look at a little girl in a wheelchair or any child, or an adult in a wheelchair, they assume all these things are provided for them and it’s just not the case at all.
“When I first started it people were saying, “It’ll consume you, it’ll take over your life” and I was like, “I’ll be fine” and it actually does, it is like a full time job.”
He added: “It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and it’s going to be like this for the rest of Freya’s life. We don’t know what the future holds.
“It could be another operation or more physio, but there’s always an impact and there’s always a need for money for funds for Freya because she always needs equipment.”
Interview with Darren Bailey.
Jake, 25 said he was motivated to start the fundraiser because he did a sponsored walk last year for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund after a member of his pool team died of the disease.
He said: “We raised just over £2,000. I always wanted to do something again this year but due to Covid-19 and lockdown I’ve not been able to do anything.
“Now that restrictions are more at ease I thought “why not do another thing?” on the TeamDad Lancashire page that I joined just recently due to me only just becoming a dad, I wanted to see if anyone else wanted to join me on that.”
Interview with Jake Myers.
Jake said: “It makes you feel good that you’re doing it for someone else, you’re doing it for a purpose.
“There’s not much knowledge to the general public with regards to Freya’s condition and there’s so many people that have this condition and I automatically thought it was all funded by the NHS, but with it not, it hits home a little bit. It makes you want to do it even more.
“I’m hoping with us all meeting on this Facebook page, it would be good for dads to get together and get to know each other and make some friends out of it and organise more fundraisers for the future.
“If I manage to hit the target that we’ve set of £1,500, I said I’ll do the last mile in shorts, nothing else just shorts regardless of the weather.”
Jake encourages people to donate and share to encourage other people to donate too.
To help donate to Freya’s Festive March, visit: Jake Myers is fundraising for Tree of Hope (justgiving.com)