16 Jul

Running For Bella and Sebastian

Rob Marsh and children

A dad from Oxfordshire has signed up for the British Heart Foundation’s Blenheim Palace 10K Run after his two young children were both diagnosed with congenital heart disease. 37-year-old Rob Marsh of Witney was inspired to raise funds for the event on Sunday 5 October 2014 by his daughter Isabella and son Sebastian. Both were born with double outlet right ventricle – a condition where there is a hole between the two ventricle chambers of the heart, so the blood cannot get all of the oxygen it needs.

Both Rob and his wife, Emma, have been through genetic testing and doctors have said that their situation is very rare as they have no sign of the condition. The children’s health has profoundly affected the Marsh family; they even had to spend Christmas last year in a hostel while Sebastian received the treatment he needed. 

Sebastian, who is six months old, currently has a temporary cardiac shunt and is due to have corrective surgery next year.  The family is aware that there may still be challenges ahead but they are determined to try and overcome them.

On taking part in the Blenheim Palace 10K Run Rob said: “I haven’t really ran since I was at school so this is a serious challenge for me, but to raise money for such a worthwhile cause and also raising awareness that congenital heart disease can affect anyone is fantastic motivation. It also helps that every time I go out on a training run, I know Isabella and Sebastian are always waiting back at home to welcome me!”

Rob continues: “The British Heart Foundation is a fantastic charity and I am so happy to be doing my part and giving something back so that we can continue to see such improvements in treatment for heart patients.”

Emma, Isabella and Sebastian will all be there on the day to cheer Rob at the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace, where a 2k fun run and a half marathon will also be taking place.

Registration for the Blenheim Palace Runs start from £10. Call the events team to register on 0845 130 8663 or visit the event website.