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NewsDoting dad walks 100,000 steps in a day in memory of daughter...

Doting dad walks 100,000 steps in a day in memory of daughter who passed away at just 10-days-old

A DOTING DAD walked 100,000 steps in just one day to raise money in memory of his baby daughter who died at just 10-days-old.

Kevin Heartwell undertook the mammoth task around his hometown of Blackpool, Lancashire on Sunday – and managed pit-stops at McDonald’s and the pub in-between.

The 30-year-old delivery driver decided to take on the gruelling task to raise money for the Neonatal Unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Kevin at the end of his walk
Kevin walked 100,000 steps to raise money in memory of his daughter. Credit: Bonnie’s Buddies

Nurses at the hospital cared for his daughter Bonnie who was born prematurely at 28 weeks and tragically passed away on 23 November last year at just a few days old.

Kevin and his wife have set up a social media page in honour of their beloved tot called Bonnie’s Buddies to raise money in her honour.

They plan on donating any money raised to the hospital on what would have been her first birthday.

Kevin took on the longest walk of his life on the gruelling 17 hour venture – starting at 5am until 10pm on Sunday.

He set off from his home and carried on walking before finishing at Bonnie’s memorial garden.

Kevin then toasted the toast with a beer at the spot before heading home for pizza and a bath.

Speaking today, Kevin said: “I had lost a lot of weight over lockdown and initially I thought about doing a 10k but I realised that I hated running.

“I got a bit carried away in lockdown and on a few occasions I walked 40 or 50,000 steps.

“The second half of the walk was tough as between 60 and 70,000 I was on the floor.

“It was just one foot in front of the other, step by step.

“Once I got to 90,000 steps I found it much easier and powered through.

“It feels really good to have raised so much as when we set up our page we did not have a target in mind.

“We feel brilliant about that. I think my next task won’t be anywhere near as physical.

“A local band has offered to put on a charity event for free to help raise funds which is great too.”

Kevin with the nurses who treated his daughter
Kevin with his two sons stopped by the hospital where Bonnie was looked after. Credit: Bonnie’s Buddies

Kevin’s wife Bethany Heartwell posted about her daughter’s passing last month.

She said: “My waters broke at 27 weeks and six days due to me having Covid, Bonnie was born at 28 weeks and 3 days.

“Both labour and delivery went absolutely fine and Bonnie was doing really well straight away.

“She was taken to the neonatal unit and due to me having Covid, we couldn’t go and see her for another seven days as I had tested positive seven days prior and it’s a 14 day isolation rule at the hospital (10 days for Kevin).

“We kept in touch with the neonatal unit via phone calls and an online website where the nurses would share photos and videos of Bonnie to show how she was doing.

“She was just being an absolute superstar and they were always so pleased with her progress every time we rang.

“We finally got to come and see her exactly a week after she was born and she really was doing so well. We couldn’t believe how alert she was and how much of my milk she was able to take, everything seemed to be going in the right direction.

“The three days we spent with her were just amazing, lots of cuddles and we were shown how to check her temp and change her little monitors and even got to change her tiny little nappy.

“On the fourth day of being able to see her, that morning, the nurses were concerned as her heart rate kept dropping and we had noticed she was looking very pale.

“A doctor had come to check her and had said to give her antibiotics in case of an infection.

“Unfortunately all throughout the day, Bonnie’s heart rate just kept dropping and kept having to have CPR until eventually she was just not strong enough to take any more and she passed away.

“We did find out that she did have an infection and it just makes it so hard to take that the reason she arrived early in the first place was due to me having Covid, but then she was doing so well and it was the infection that caused her to die.”

Speaking today, Bethany said: “I am so incredibly proud of Kevin. I knew just how hard the challenge would be to complete so I asked family and close friends if they would join him throughout the day to keep his momentum up and spirits high.

“I am just overwhelmed by the amount of support he received and we can’t thank everyone enough.

“One of the most special moments of the day was when he had walked to Hospital and stood outside the window of the Neonatal Unit where Bonnie was cared for, the staff from the neonatal unit came outside to give Kevin more words of encouragement and it was just so lovely to see them again as they are the reason why we are doing what we are doing. They are just amazing.

“After losing Bonnie, as you can imagine, it was extremely hard to carry on and keep positive but we soon came up with the idea for ‘Bonnies Buddies’ to give us something to keep us going and to do something so positive in her memory.

“We can’t believe we have raised almost £6,000 already – this whole project is really helping myself, Kevin and our two little boys cope that little bit better , knowing that we can give back to the people who loved and cared for our little girl – we will forever be so grateful and they hold such a special place in our hearts.

“We cannot thank every single person that has donated enough, the support and love we have received from everyone has been so comforting in this difficult time.”

The GoFundMe page has now raised almost £6,000 of the £10,000 target.

To donate, please visit https://gofund.me/b8c29145

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