Artist Angel London to run Littlehampton 10k in memory of his daughter
Runners are already gearing up for the Littlehampton 10k in September – even some who hate running but want to give something back to Chestnut Tree House children's hospice.
The fundraising event has been taking place since 2003, the year the hospice opened in Poling, and is now in its 19th year.
Individuals, groups, corporate teams and running clubs still have time to sign up. Visit www.chestnut.org.uk/10k for more information.
Neil Skinner will be there, running in memory of his daughter Sacha, who died in his arms at Chestnut Tree House aged 13 on September 27, 2013.
He said: “Chestnut Tree House have had such a big impact on my life, and they still do, and although I actually hate running, I just felt compelled to want to do something to give something back to them.
"I can never thank Chestnut Tree House enough for all they did for our family at the end of Sacha’s life. If it wasn’t for the hospice and the emotional support and counselling, I would have dealt with my grief very differently over nearly nine years since Sacha passed away.”
Sacha was a 'fun-loving little girl, who was full of life and always had a smile on her face'.
Her life was normal for the first few years but when she was three, she started having unexplained seizures.
Neil, also known as artist Angel London, said: "Sacha had lots of tests done and we didn’t know what was causing the seizures over a very concerning two-year period. We eventually, received the devastating news that she was diagnosed with Batten disease and that she only had a life-expectancy of ten years old.”
The rare genetic disorder affects the brain and nervous system, causing a wide variety of neurologic problems, including loss of vision and seizures.
Neil said: "Sacha was on so many medications to help manage her symptoms. She was such a brave little girl. We would visit Chestnut Tree House for short breaks and Sacha loved it there. They were so good with her. She was a very sensory girl, so they spent a lot of time in the sensory room with her and doing sensory activities.
“It wasn’t only Sacha that benefited from Chestnut Tree House. I benefited greatly from their counselling team, who was always there to help. We also met other families in similar situations, which made us feel less alone. Chestnut Tree House has the whole package, we had complete trust in them and knew we were all in safe hands."
Neil was born in West Sussex and moved to London in 2014, channeling his grief into artwork to communicate a message of hope and positivity in the face of adversity.