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Bishop's Stortford High School science teacher raises funds for a cause close to his heart

Science teacher Darren Neesam is braving his first marathon to raise £2,000 for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that nursed his newborn son back to health.

TBSHS, London Road, Bishops Stortford. Teacher Darren Neesam is running the Edinburgh Marathon. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (10216181)
TBSHS, London Road, Bishops Stortford. Teacher Darren Neesam is running the Edinburgh Marathon. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (10216181)

Darren, 32, has worked at The Bishop’s Stortford High School since 2008. In December 2017, he and wife Julia, a psychotherapist, welcomed their son Zachary into the world, but there were complications surrounding his birth.

Julia experienced a difficult labour at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) in Harlow. She was induced as Zachary was developing into a large baby, but he got stuck on the way out and forceps were used to help in his delivery.

“He ended up with lung problems, he wasn’t breathing as he should have been and they rushed him off to the neonatal intensive care unit,” said Darren.

Zachary had various assessments including being tested for meningitis. Julia also became poorly due to an infection and was put in isolation.

Darren moved in to the hospital to be close to his wife and infant son. Just over a week later, Zachary and Julia had improved and the Neesams were allowed to go home to Lower Sheering and begin their life as a family.

While doctors were not able to work out what caused Zachary’s breathing problems, Darren and Julia brought him back to the hospital a year later for a check up and were told that everything was completely fine.

Now Darren is preparing to run his first marathon, in Edinburgh tomorrow (Sunday, May 26) to thank the NICU for Zachary’s care.

“I’ve always wanted to do one,” he said. “You see all these people on TV, and I’d love the feeling of having done something that’s quite a big thing, like you’ve achieved something major.”

The Edinburgh Marathon has been voted as the fastest 26.2-mile course in the UK by Runner’s World, making it ideal for newbies.

It begins on Potterrow, in the grounds of one of the world’s oldest universities, before passing through the heart of Edinburgh and heading east along the coast.

Darren said: “I’m looking forward to it, being up in Edinburgh. And because it’s in half term, we’re making a holiday of it afterwards. It will be our first flight as a new family.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darren-neesam to donate.

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