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A Decade Of Getting It Done For Premature Babies

By Dan Hutton on January 14, 2016 in News

Photo: Sophie Smith

Photo: Sophie Smith

It’s that time of year when local resident Sophie Smith and her amazing Running for Premature Babies team announce that they again need your help. More runners and fundraising geniuses are being sought to take part in the SMH Half Marathon on Sunday, May 15, helping to save the lives of tiny premature babies cared for at The Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick.

Ms Smith founded Running for Premature Babies (RFPB) in 2007 after she and her husband Ash lost their first-born triplets – Henry, Jasper and Evan – to complications after their extremely premature births. They’ve been painting the town purple ever since.

“2016 is a special year for us as it’s Henry, Jasper & Evan’s tenth birthday, and it also marks the tenth time we’ve put a team together in the race. We’d love to celebrate by gathering our biggest team ever,” Ms Smith said.

Since its inception, the Running for Premature Babies team has raised over $1.5million for The Royal’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit, where her children received their care.

In 2016 Ms Smith is hoping to attract hundreds more people to don the team’s iconic purple running singlets, doubling her annual team to 500 runners, raising $250,000 for prematurity research and brightening up Sydney’s streets.

“When our babies died we never dreamed that ten years later over 2000 people would have run in their memory, or that so much money would have been raised in their names to help others just like them,” Ms Smith said.

“We are truly humbled by the hard work and generosity of so many runners in creating this legacy for our boys.
It is wonderful to now have some runners join us whose own prematurely born children spent their first days, weeks and months using the new equipment provided by RFPB.”

Ms Smith said that she is looking for people of all fitness levels to join the team. With 18 weeks of free training sessions and social events, and even the option of running the course with a friend as a 7km/14km relay, there’s something for everyone.

“There’ll be free training sessions twice a week to get everyone race ready, and we’ll support you all the way to the finish line,” she said. “We also organise social events from our launch party in early February to our race day after party, and each year new friendships are forged. We’ve even had a RFPB wedding!”

Aside from the free training sessions, team members will also receive a Running Bare RFPB running kit, and all they need to do in return is raise the minimum $100 in sponsorships.

“Each runner sets their own personal fundraising target,” Ms Smith said. “Some run in memory of their own babies, and others run to celebrate their children who survived their prematurity. Others join as a New Year’s Resolution to get fit and support a great cause.”

So grab a friend, work colleague or family member and jump on to to sign up. There really is no simpler way to save lives.