Running for Esme

(From left) Jamie Haynes with Caleb, Jacqui Mackay with Esme, Jessie Walker with Leo, Heide McGrath with Archie, and Sarah Piner. Photo by John Thompson

More than $6000 has been raised so far to support the Wodonga Maternity Unit which helped save the life of young local Esme Mackay.

Driving the fundraiser is Jamie Haynes - a family friend of parents Jacqui and Nathan Mackay - who took on the 4 x 4 x 48 last week.

It challenges participants to complete a four mile run (6.5km) every four hours, for 48 hours.

Mr Haynes, who was glad to be supported by the community through donations and company on his runs, said the result has exceeded his expectations.

He also said there is still time to donate.

“I would have been happy with $1000. It just goes to show how much this community will do to support and help one another,” he said.

Students at Mayrung Primary School joined Jamie for a lap of the oval on Thursday. Photo by John Thompson

Esme was born on Friday, March 4. But 18 hours after going in to labour, the couple’s excitement turned to shock.

Doctors would later discover that a detached placenta had cut off Esme’s oxygen. Struggling for air her heart rate began to drop.

Were it not for the expertise of Wodonga Hospital’s maternity unit, and the last-minute emergency caesarean, Esme would never have survived.

‘‘When Nathan rang me on the Saturday (the day after the birth), I said I would do whatever I could to help,’’ Jamie said.

‘‘It is about raising funds for the ward that helped Nath and Jac, and so many other parents.

‘‘The Wodonga maternity ward has not only brought life to Esme, but, a daughter, a little sister and a complete family.“

While completing his second run of the challenge at Finley’s Football oval on Thursday, Mr Hayne’s was joined by students from St Joseph’s Finley, the Finley Early Learning Centre and Biralee Preschool.

Their support was organised by Heidi McGrath of the Finley Early Learning Centre.

Mrs Mackay described the “unbelievable” support she and her family have received from the community in the wake of their brush with tragedy.

‘‘It just goes to show how much the local community is prepared to pitch in and help out one of their own,’’ she said.

‘‘It was fantastic to see so many people coming out to show their support on the day.’’

At the time, a sweat-soaked Mr Haynes told the Southern Riverina News he felt good after the run — a feeling he wasn’t sure would last.

‘‘It’s only my second run of the challenge so it’s not too bad yet, but going forward I’ll have to be careful to manage my stamina and keep the momentum going,’’ he said.

By Monday, Mr Haynes felt he had ‘exceeded’ his own expectations.

“We had a great time. People joined me on pretty much all my runs, either biking, jogging or walking with me,” he said.

“I got through it a lot better than expected.

“The support was amazing and I don’t know how I would have gone had it not been there.”

Mr Haynes said the last two runs were the hardest - both physically and mentally.

Donations to the Esme Fund remain open, and are accepted via bank transfer - BSB: 082356, Account number: 248994395.