College Dean of Higher Education trekking 55 miles in a day to raise money for brother’s life-limiting condition

Mark Harris' 17-hour hike between football clubs is for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK

Higher Education College Dean of Trafford College is calling on staff and students to sponsor a 55-mile pre-match walk, dressed as nurses, between Sheffield Hallam and Stoke City Football clubs to support research into a life-limiting condition suffered by his brother.

Mark Harris will be joined by fellow fundraisers, including ex-Stoke City and Republic of Ireland legend, Liam Lawrence, on Friday 29 March from Hillsborough to bet365 Stadium in time for the match between the two clubs on Saturday 30 March.

The group will stop off on the way at one of the few Pulmonary Hypertension treatment units in the country at Sheffield Hallamshire Hospital to present a cheque of £10,000 raised so far. The cheque was made by Higher Education Art students at Stockport College.

Dean of Higher Education for Trafford College Group Mark Harris said: “It was hard when we found out. Paul fell critically ill with heart failure and collapsed lungs. He is one of the affected by the rare condition – with no current cure, which is why we need research to continue to support others in the future.”

Mark’s younger brother Paul, 39, was a sports science lecturer and keen member of many sports clubs, including Northwest College football teams and regional athletics. He was diagnosed with the condition in 2015, but since had to give up his sports job, but continues within work-based education and training. PH is a connective tissue disorder impacting on the internal organs of the lungs and subsequently heart and blood circulation.

Mark said: “If I can go any way to raise money and raise awareness of Pulmonary Hypertension, I just want to get on and do it. It will be really good to walking with my hero on the day too, Liam Lawrence.”

It is the fourth time Mark has completed the 17-hour hike, which goes over the Peak District, to raise money for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association UK. Paul and father Steve plan to drive ahead with refreshments and supplies.

Mark said, “It’s great to be in a position where students can get involved. Last year the HE Arts students worked on a live project brief to design national publicity and educational material for the PHAUK Charity, now distributed across all hospitals in the UK, explaining the condition for young people who suffer from it and their families.

“My advice to students would be, to make the most of every opportunity you have.”

To donate to Mark visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/peaks4pha.