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96 %
raised of £5,000 target
by 99 supporters
Chris Cooper avatar
Chris Cooper

Hope4Mae - Coops takes on the Sahara

I am running the Marathon Des Sables to help Mae for Tree of Hope because Mae is wonderful & needs help funding her physio

96 %
raised of £5,000 target
by 99 supporters
  • Team members: 1300 other nutters
  • Event: Marathon des Sables 2017, 08 Apr 2017

Tree of Hope

We offer hope to families to transform the lives of sick children

Charity Registration No. 1149254 In Scotland SC042611


Hello and a very big thank you for visiting Mae's fundraising page :-)

So, what's going on:

On April 7th (gulp, really not that long away!) I will be flying-off to the Sahara desert to take part in the Marathon Des Sables (MDS).  

The event, dubbed by the Discovery Channel as the "toughest foot race on earth", is a multi-day ‘ultra-marathon’, covering more than 150 miles (250km), over 6 days in the Sahara desert.  With the exception of water rations, I will need to carry everything I need for the week, including my bed, food, clothing, anti-venom pump, etc.  Sounds simple enough :-)

The course, which I will need to self-navigate, covers challenging terrain, including salt-pans, dried river beds, rocky plains, jebals (the Moroccan word for 'mountains') and miles of sand dunes (some reaching 1000m in height).  I have been warned to prepare for the occasional sandstorm as well!  During the days temperatures will exceed 50 degrees centigrade (not really an environment that my training over Christmas and the New Year, running in jumper, gloves and hat has really prepared me for) - should be a cracking challenge!

A guy I met at the MDS expo recently made a short video diary of the event when he ran it last year.  I have included the link below.  He ran for a different charity, but do have a quick look as it gives a real sense of the challenge and the 'experience' I hope the event is going to bring.  The squeamish among you may want to look away at the blister maintenance section!  Turn the volume up for full effect!

Why on earth would anyone want to do that?:

The event has been on my bucket list for a long time, ever since it first captured my imagination as a kid, watching the race on Channel 4 'Trans World Sport'.  However, when explaining to people why embarking on this adventure would be fun & fantastic experience, I am usually greeted with a lot of head-shaking, accompanied by confused & blank expressions.     

But, I have the perfect motivation for sticking to my training plan and reason to grin and bear the aching muscles, fatigue and brutal blisters that the race will bring.........Mae :-)     

Mae Louisa Lilly Fox was born on 10th May 2009 in Doncaster.  Unfortunately, there were complications during her birth and Mae suffered some injuries to her brain and she was later diagnosed as having Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy; which causes physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement, which prevented Mae from being able to walk unaided.  Mae has made fantastic progress and continues to amaze those close to her with her positive attitude & determination. 

Many of you will already know Mae's story from the fundraising some friends and I did in 2013 when we cycled from 'Lands End' to 'John O'Groats' to help raise funds for an operation which Mae so desperately needed.  Mae's operation was a huge success, and coupled with regular and relentless physiotherapy, has significantly helped to improve Mae's mobility, confidence and quality of life.  There is no greater example of this than Mae having successfully taken her first unaided steps last year!

However, the costs of Mae's ongoing physiotherapy programme are significant and I would like to do my part in trying to help Mae and her family continue making giant steps forward with her development.  A 1-hour physio session for Mae costs £60, so it is my aim to raise funds which will cover Mae's physio costs for one session per week for a year.  I know her family would be extremely grateful for your support towards this fundraising goal and I know that Mae will benefit immeasurably.  

So thank you in advance for your generosity :-)

Finally, a big 'THANK YOU!!':

I would like to take the opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to Olivia & Stanley for all their encouragement & support, ever since I signed up to this event back in March 2016.  The training and preparation has taken a huge amount of time - they have both been so brilliantly supportive, which is so very much appreciated and has made a huge difference to my preparation for the event.  You are both stars and I love you very much.  I know Olivia will be pleased to have some spare time of her own in the evenings soon, after I have dominated proceedings for the past 9 months (and next couple of months!).  I am looking forward to being able to dedicate  some serious LEGO time with Stan too!


  • Mae & her Dad :)
  • Stanley, Mae & her brother Oliver +8