27. Ivan Hollingsworth
As the father of a baby with a heart condition Ivan Hollingsworth was inspired to payback the hospital that saved his son’s life by completing a series of bizarre stunts to raise as much money for the unit as physically possible.
Ivan is the recipient of a new Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Ivan’s son Seb was born in 2009 with a congenital heart condition. This resulted in him undergoing six hours of open heart surgery at only 16 weeks old in order to save his life. Ivan and his wife Nadine now feel forever in the Freeman Hospital Newcastle’s heart unit’s debt, so as a token of their appreciation, they continue to raise funds to purchase much needed equipment, aftercare and research.
Ivan has taken fundraising to phenomenal levels, so far raising £343,000. This has been achieved by events such as running 100 miles in just 24 hours, organising a fundraising ball, a 100 mile cycle ride and multiple marathons. But Ivan’s exploits made him a YouTube star after friends offered him £100 if he would ski 10 kilometres down a mountain wearing only a mankini. Ivan took on the bet and when his friends filmed his stunt and put it on YouTube, it helped raise £1,100.
In January 2014, Ivan was joined by TV presenter Ben Shephard, for an epic challenge which involved training continuously until they had each burned 10,000 calories. The money that Ivan has helped raise not only provides much needed equipment but also means that the unit can rebuild a playroom and develop the outside play area. Not content with just undertaking these super-human feats, Ivan is also a trustee of CHUF (Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital), regularly carrying out awareness raising and campaigning work.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Ivan is an extraordinary fundraiser, capturing the imagination with challenges that many others would not even dare to attempt. He has a done a fantastic job raising money and awareness – and helping to lessen the suffering of sick children. I am delighted to recognise Ivan’s service by making him a Point of Light.”
“Every day when I look into my beautiful son’s eyes, I am reminded of what the wonderful team at the Freeman Hospital did for our family. Raising money and awareness for CHUF is our way of thanking those who saved Seb’s life and hopefully it will help other children like him. This award is a huge honour and I dedicate it to the surgeons, doctors, nurses and every individual who has helped us in our fundraising for CHUF.”
Alan Campbell MP for Tynemouth said:
“Ivan has been a tireless campaigner for the future of the Children’s Heart Unit, which I know is an issue he cares deeply about, as do very many of my constituents. Ivan and Nadine have gone beyond raising money, important though that is, to raising the profile and importance of the unit. He has given so much of his time and effort and it is fantastic that he is being given this recognition. I warmly congratulate Ivan on winning this award.”