A father from Ipswich will take on three gruelling challenges this year in honour of his son.

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Martin Cornwell, 32, is raising money for Ipswich Hospital’s neo-natal unit, which saved the life of his nine month old baby boy.

Martin’s wife Kerry was just 29 weeks pregnant when she gave birth to their son Charlie Rae on May 1 last year. He was 2lb and 15oz.

Martin described the experience as “very, very sudden” and only made it back from work in London with 15 minutes of labour left.

After 24 hours of special care Charlie Rae’s condition began to deteriorate. Suffering from a pulmonary haemorrhage and a small bleed in the brain he had to be kept on a ventilator in intensive care for two weeks.

After 50 days in Ipswich Hospital Charlie Rae pulled through and was fit enough to go home. For six weeks he lived at home on an oxygen supply with staff from the hospital calling in twice a week to check his weight and make sure he was eating properly.

Now Charlie Rae is in full health, and Martin wants to thank the staff at the hospital who provided them with such exceptional care.

“He’s fighting fit and doing really well but he couldn’t be here today without the help of the neo-natal unit in Ipswich Hospital; without the help of all the nurses and doctors and everything they did for us, even accommodating us.

“He beat all the odds and is a strong, happy, healthy baby today. Your heart goes out to what they do because we are lucky to have the NHS.”

Now Martin’s brother has selected a series of tough endurance races for the new father to take on. Robert Cornwell will also be taking up the challenge, as will mutual friends Andrew O’Donnell and Adam Grimwood.

“I always said I wanted to raise money but didn’t know how to do it,” said Martin. “My brother said he was doing all these events and did I want to take part and do it for charity?”

Next month the foursome will compete in the Gladi8tor eight mile extreme endurance race in Thetford Forest, and in May they’ll be throwing themselves into Ipswich’s own Insane Terrain obstacle course.

In July they’ll take on the toughest test of all at Kettering’s Tough Mudder obstacle course, designed by members of the special forces.

All of the money raised will be donated to Ipswich Hospital’s neo-natal unit.

You can sponsor Martin here: http://www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Rob-cornwell.

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