Supermum, Rachel Spencer, from Cardiff completed a self-styled ‘Zipathalon’ on Sunday 1st July, to say thank you to the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for taking such good care of her 18-month-old son, Jake, who has been a patient since birth.

Jake was born with a severe gastrointestinal condition which meant he could not absorb the nutrients needed to enable him to survive. Jake spent months in the neonatal unit at the University Hospital of Wales where he was artificially fed intravenously to allow him to continue growing.  He was then transferred to the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital before being allowed home at eight months old.

The Noah’s Ark Charity held its first Zip Slide event on 1st of July to raise funds for its Tiny Lives Appeal. Feeling indebted to the neonatal unit for Jake’s care in the first few months of his life Rachel was keen to sign up.  She later decided to ramp things up a notch, creating her own full day challenge which also involved a cycle from Cardiff to Chepstow and combined cycle and run back on the same day!

Rachel set off at 6.20am from the Children’s Hospital on Sunday morning and had an enjoyable and sun burn free 40 mile cycle to Chepstow – no mean feat in itself!

When Rachel arrived at the National Diving and Activity Centre she met up with three other supermums who all had children in the neonatal unit at the same time. They have all become really close friends so decided to take on the Zip Wire together! With plenty of shrieks and laughter in the sunshine the mums all completed their zip and Rachel prepared to set off on her trek home.

Completing 30 muggy miles on her bike, Rachel then took on the final 10 miles back to the children’s hospital on foot. She arrived back at 17:20 that evening, 80 miles and 11 hours later – one a seriously impressive Sunday!

Pushing herself to complete her Zipathalon was definitely worth it, as Rachel has raised an amazing £2,025!  The money will be split to support both the neonatal unit and children’s hospital.

Rachel says: “Noah’s Ark has been a constant source of support for us and we know it will continue to play a pivotal role in Jake’s life,

“We are so grateful and the money I’ve raised is just a small gesture of our gratitude.

“The warmth and commitment of the hospital staff has got us all through the last year and a half.

“All of the amazing staff we have met have shown true determination to ensure Jake made progress each day and were always on hand with the very best care, kindness and compassion.”

To find out about future Noah’s Ark Charity events visit

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