It’s a heartbreaking tale but one which is inspiring countless people to do good.
The story of brave baby Thea Paterson and her Harrogate family’s extraordinary battle to save her life after she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder finally ended in tragedy last year.
It was every parent’s worst nightmare but mum and dad Richard and Samantha decided after the funeral at Stonefall Crematorium to try to make something positive out of the story of their little girl by launching Thea’s Trust, a charity helping to support families with children diagnosed with MPS disease.
As painful as it still is to talk about those months of hoping and praying, this Harrogate couple - Richard, a manager for Le Bistrot Pierre, and Samantha, who works for Harrogate firm CNG, force themselves to relive that anguished time in order to spread the word about the charity.
Richard said: “Every parent plays the role of protector to their children but to have your precious, beautiful baby girl diagnosed with a condition which was going to limit her life expectancy so drastically.
“Those months were so physically and emotionally draining for both of us. Our battle to give Thea a longer life expectancy was like being on a roller coaster.
“But we will cherish Thea always and she will live on in our hearts and memories forever.”
Since Thea’s Trust was launched in March 2014, the response from the public in the Harrogate district has been amazing, Richard said.
But you would be hard-pressed to find someone more ‘game’ than Harrogate man Alan Evans.
The 33-year-old sales executive at PG Branding, is currently taking on 17 Tough Mudder-type events in just six months for Thea’s Trust - and that’s despite breaking his ankle last year in a Total Warrior event.
A quick glance at his punishing schedule would be enough to make even Eddie Izzard worried.
Alan said: “I’ve known Richard and Sam for many years and you would struggle to meet two more friendly, kind and generous people.
“I’ve wanted to do something to help their charity for some time but I wanted it to be something challenging to really push myself.
“I’ve been working with Richard Blackburn at 360 Total Fitness and Arashikage Martial Arts Academy. In fact, it was Richard who talked me into doing the events in the first place!”
Alan’s contribution is certainly recognised by Thea’s parents who are urging readers to support him by making donations online.
Richard said: “Alan’s fundraising efforts are nothing short of inspirational. How he finds the energy and passion, let alone the emotional strength to keep going just amazes us.”
To donate to Thea’s Trust, visit AlanEvansToughMudder
More information at www.facebook.com/theastrust or www.theastrust.co.uk