Jon’s Big TriOn Saturday 8th June, Tiny Tickers’ CEO, Jon Arnold, will embark on a journey of 230 miles to raise money for babies born with serious heart conditions. As well as heading the charity, Jon is a heart dad – his daughter Zoe was born 12 years ago with a congenital heart defect (read Zoe’s story here).
The momentous challenge will see Jon cycle, swim and run 230 miles across the Yorkshire Dales from his house in Leeds to the Lake District and back again. He estimates he will be on the run, bike or in the water for six days solid.
Jon is dad to Max (9), Danny (6) and 12 year-old Zoe. Zoe’s heart condition was picked up at Jon’s wife, Andrea’s, 20 week pregnancy scan. Jon says, ‘Zoe was diagnosed with a complete atrioventricular septal defect – a big hole in the middle of all four chambers of the heart, and one valve where there should be two. We also learned at the scan that she would have Down’s Syndrome. She is Daddy’s little princess. A very precious little princess.’
Jon continues, ‘Early detection of congenital heart defects in babies greatly improves their chances of survival – and this is where Tiny Tickers comes in. We train health professionals to be better able to detect heart problems during pregnancy, place pulse oximetry machines (which can help detect heart defects in newborns) in hospitals and provide support to families who are dealing with a diagnosis.’
Jon is hoping to raise £1500, which will help Tiny Tickers continue our vital work providing a better start for tiny hearts. Of the challenge, he says, ‘Honestly, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to complete it, but I’ll give it my best shot. I spend a lot of my professional life asking people to raise money for Tiny Tickers and being inspired by our supporters’ amazing and generous efforts to do so. It seemed about time I put my money where my mouth was and took on a challenge myself.
‘The whole thing is going to be the most amazing adventure and, while I’m pretty daunted now it’s getting nearer, I can’t wait to get started. And, hopefully, people will think I’m foolhardy enough that they’ll make a small contribution to Tiny Tickers’ vital work as a result.’
Cycling 113 miles from Methley, Leeds, to Lake Windermere in the Lake District. According to Jon, ‘I’ve never cycled more than 20 miles before.’
Swimming two miles in Lake Windermere as part of the Great North Swim.
Running 115 miles back from Windermere to Methley, Leeds.
Jon says, ‘I’ll be running the full route of the Dales Way, through the stunning Yorkshire Dales from Windermere to Ilkley. Then I’ll be adding on the Dales Way link route to the centre of Leeds and, finally, the River Aire back to Methley. I’ll be aiming for roughly a marathon a day, on trails, carrying all my gear, until I reach home. I’ve done one marathon in the last 16 years, so this will be pushing it!’
Throughout the journey, Jon will be camping and carrying all his kit and tent with him as he runs and cycles.
Jon’s motivation for this epic challenge is simple, ‘I’m privileged to be Tiny Tickers’ CEO. We’re a small charity, and every penny raised is vital to our mission. And I know the difference early diagnosis and treatment can make. My daughter is only alive today because of the wonderful NHS – I want every baby with CHD to have the same chance of survival as Zoe.’