Teacher’s marathon challenge for families of seriously ill babies

A Grosvenor Park Academy teacher has taken on a marathon challenge to raise money for a charity which supported his son who developed a life-threatening infection just hours after his birth.  

Javan Sparks completed the Milton Keynes marathon to raise money for Cherish Wrecsam, which supported him and his wife Laura when son Quinn spent his first two weeks of life in in Wrecsam Maelor Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit recovering from Group B Strep.  

In support of their teacher, children from the school also clocked up the miles during ‘Run With Mr Sparks’ – an all-day relay around Grosvenor Park, with each class taking on an hour-long leg.  

Mr Sparks said: “In 2019, we were greatly blessed with the birth of our third child Quinn. However, a few hours after he was born it was clear that he was unwell and needed urgent attention.  

“For the next few weeks, Quinn stayed in the Special Care Baby Unit at the Maelor Hospital in Wrexham.  

“He received expert 24-hour care from dedicated and skilled staff. 

“Due to the work that Cherish Wrecsam does, my wife was able to stay in a room very close to Quinn so that she could be with him, feed him and get regular updates on how he was doing.  

“Cherish also gave Laura and I counselling to help us through a traumatic period from Ruth, a lovely lady who has experienced what we have and more.  

“This charity is small and local. Ruth Drake does so much of the work on her own. My raising money for this charity is to help the charity continue their great work in supporting parents with children in the special care baby unit at the Maelor.  

“Quinn is now a healthy, fun and joy filled three-year-old. We are so grateful for those skilled staff at the Maelor for nursing our baby back to health.” 

“It was amazing for us. Obviously, it was a very scary period, we weren’t sure how he’d be. “Worst case scenario he could have developed life changing conditions and so knowing that we could be nearby to speak to doctors and nurses and able to get frank updates was so important, and also just to be close to him.”  

Javan, who is also father to Esme, 11, and Jude, eight, started running four years ago. 

He said: “I started running mainly as a way to lose weight but caught the bug and I’m a bit obsessed now.  

“I wanted to raise money for Cherish, but I also wanted it to be a challenge and for me this was a massive challenge.  

“Involving the children with the ‘Run with Mr Sparks’ in the park hopefully showed them that challenges are hard but rewarding. 

“The marathon was a brilliant yet extremely difficult experience. I genuinely smiled throughout the entire day, but am definitely feeling the distance in my legs. I am so very grateful to everyone who has donated as this money will make a massive difference to people who are going through a similar experience to my family” 

Donations can be made at:  www.justgiving.com/fundraising/javan-sparks1