15 Feb One man and his dog: Mercy Ships trustee Mel in ambitious fundraising target
Mel Zuydam may already be the treasurer and a trustee of Mercy Ships UK – but now he’s going even further to support the charity he is passionate about.
The 61-year-old father of two is challenging himself to run a half marathon to raise £50,000 for Mercy Ships as well.
Mel from Adderbury near Banbury, Oxfordshire, said he hoped he could gain some more supporters by putting his best foot forward for the cause.
“I’m passionately committed to Mercy Ships and both of its hospital ships, and I really want the newest hospital ship, the Global Mercy, to deliver its maximum life-changing impact. With the best support, we can help that happen.
“What I love about Mercy Ships is it’s not just about the hospital ships delivering truly transformational surgery but it’s the legacy of sustainability through training and increased medical capacity they leave behind.”
Now he is busy training with his canine running companion, a seven-year-old schnoodle called Suki, to run the Amstelveen Half Marathon in Holland on Sunday 19 March.
He is determined to find sponsors to help him reach his £50,000 fundraising target for Mercy Ships.
Describing himself as a ‘moderate exerciser’ the chief financial officer in energy infrastructure services sector said he has chosen to do his fundraiser in the Netherlands for two special reasons.
“The flat terrain of the Netherlands is a big attraction! Also, I am half Dutch. My late father was from Gouda in the Netherlands – he passed away six years ago.”
Mel said he is particularly keen to raise the money to sponsor the cost of a cabin on the newest hospital ship in the Mercy Ships fleet – the Global Mercy.
The world’s first purpose-built hospital training ship, the Global Mercy has 641 live-in volunteer crew who sleep in cabins on the ship. Recruited from around the world, these volunteers have skills ranging from surgeons and teachers to cooks and electricians.
From correcting cleft lips and palates and congenital deformities to removing tumours and restoring eyesight, it is estimated that more than 150,000 lives will be changed on board the Global Mercy through surgery alone, over the vessel’s 50-year expected lifespan.
From this month, the ship will be docked in Dakar and delivering life-changing surgery to patients in Senegal and The Gambia before heading to Sierra Leone.
Mel’s wife Melissa will be supporting him at the event and his daughter Izzy, 19, and son, Ben, aged 17, have been encouraging him in his training.
To help Mel reach his ambitious target, visit his JustGiving site justgiving.com/fundraising/mel-zuydam3
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