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RUNNERS REQUIRED IN QUEST TO SAVE TINY LIVES

By Catriona Stirrat on March 2, 2017 in News

Picture: Simon Mara

Picture: Simon Mara

If you ever need to define doing something worthwhile, Sophie Smith and her ‘Running for Premature Babies’ (RFPB) group should be your point of reference. In this her 11th year entering a team in the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon, she is aiming to attract 500 participants to pull on the eponymous purple RFPB singlet on May 21.

Gathering 500 runners would “mean the world” to Ms. Smith as it will help add to the impressive two million dollars she has already raised to save the lives of premature babies over the past decade.

These contributions have funded 28 pieces of lifesaving equipment and important research projects at the Royal Randwick Hospital for Women, but Ms. Smith knows there is still more work to be done to advance the care of premature babies and increase survival rates.

“I’ve seen firsthand that the new equipment provided by RFPB is saving the lives of babies even smaller and sicker than my little triplets were,” Ms. Smith said. “Knowing that their legacy is enabling little babies to live is really wonderful.”

Having lost her own premature triplets, Ms. Smith is the epitome of positivity as she continues to raise funds for premature babies a decade later. She described RFPB as a “very positive and healing experience” as she is able to “prove that something good can come from even the greatest of tragedies”.

“I’m proud to be Henry, Jasper and Evan’s mum and I’m passionate about ensuring their lives matter and make a difference,” she said.

Ms. Smith’s motivation to gather 500 runners is “even greater” this year as she is driven not only by the loss her triplets, but also by that of her husband, Ash, who lost his battle with cancer last year. They had both looked forward to developing this group into a charity, which she is aiming to do this year.

You don’t need a personal connection to the cause to get behind it, and anyone harbouring doubts about their ability to run the 21-kilometre half marathon need only be reminded of the struggle of these premature babies to survive for inspiration.

Aside from the obvious lifesaving impact of running in the RFPB group, Ms. Smith said that her free training sessions held five days a week in Centennial Park, Queens Park and the city not only improve people’s fitness, but are a “great way to socialise with like-minded people before the event”, with many life-long friendships formed within the group, and even a team wedding.

So dust off the sneakers and start your fitness regime today. Doing so won’t only get your rig looking ripped, it might also help save the life of a tiny little baby.

To join the ‘Running for Premature Babies’ group and to find out more information about the cause, visit www.runningforprematurebabies.com or contact Sophie on 0410620149.

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