Luke’s 12 Challenges Takes Him Around Europe
Tuesday 21st March 2023
A NURSE who helps some of the most seriously ill patients in the North West is marking his 30th birthday by taking on a 12-month fundraising challenge to support his hospital.
Luke O’Hara, an ECMO Coordinator at Wythenshawe Hospital, has committed to 12 marathons in 12 months to raise funds for Manchester Foundation Trust Charity. Luke has a target of £2,000 and money will go to Wythenshawe Hospital and the ECMO unit where he works.
ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) uses cutting-edge technologies to take over a patient’s heart and lung functions to allow these organs to recover. Patients with severe heart and lung conditions, including Covid-19, have been treated on the unit, which is one of only five adult ECMO centres in the country. This means Luke and his team don’t just treat patients from Manchester, but take in critically ill people from across the North West.
Luke is so passionate about his work and Wythenshawe Hospital – part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust’s family of 10 hospitals – he wanted to give something back.
“Some patients are with us for a week, others are with us for months and months,” explained Luke, who is turning 30 this month (February).
“Patients come from all over the North West, from Carlisle to Leeds and the Isle of Man.
“We get to know families really well. Building that relationship with them and the patients is really important, especially if they’re someone who is with us long-term.
“The most rewarding part is when you see someone doing really well. They come back with their kids or their partners to show us how well they’ve got on. It makes a huge difference to us and it’s why we all do the job.”
Luke is one of two nifty nurses who have pledged to take on 12 challenges for 12 months. Lauren Baybutt a nurse at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, is doing 12 different walking and running challenges throughout 2023. You can read more on her story here.
Meanwhile, Luke’s first marathon, Sevilla, Spain, has just taken place and his next two marathons will be Brighton and London in April, before heading to the other end of the UK and tackling the Edinburgh marathon in May.
Luke said: “I had the best time over in Sevilla. The atmosphere was great, the marathon was amazing and I was so excited because I managed to get a personal best!
“I met up with one of my former NHS colleagues who has moved back there, which was nice. It was a bit of a whirlwind getting over there, running, hobbling around the sights then coming home
“I’m most looking forward to London. It’s just such an iconic run and watching on TV it looks like such an amazing atmosphere.
“I wanted to tick off each country in Great Britain, so I’ve got one in the Brecon Beacons in Wales and one in Dingle in Ireland. I need to think about a Northern Ireland one.
“The one in Wales is a trail run so that’s probably going to be the hardest one. I won’t say I’m not looking forward to it, but it will definitely be a toughy.
“Two or three years ago I did my first marathon, it was the Loch Ness Marathon. It was really hilly but had incredible views. So I’m looking forward to the marathons which will take me to new places.”
Luke is no stranger to marathons and has done some in the past. He is also a keen football player and some friends from his team, Trafford Mersey FC, are planning to join him for a few of the events.
His love of sports has been combined with regular training runs, which he has been updating supporters about on his JustGiving Page.
Luke, who lives in Burnage South Manchester, said: “This all came about because I wanted to do something to mark turning 30, as well as giving back to the hospital where I work.
“Because I’d done a marathon before I really wanted to go bigger this time, especially as getting sponsorship is quite difficult at the minute. But people have been really kind and I’m quite near to my target already.”
Jo Thomas, Relationship Officer for Wythenshawe Hospital Charity, said: “Luke has been doing fantastic with his training and everyone at Wythenshawe Hospital is behind him for his challenge.
“I can’t wait to hear how he gets on at each event, but especially London which, as Luke rightly says, it such an iconic event. We have a team of fundraisers going down so hopefully it will be a really memorable experience for all of them.”