DAVE Rodrigues has put himself through the pain barrier – all for his best mate’s children.
Dave decided to undertake a challenge this year and took part in 22 runs of various lengths – culminating in this month’s Portsmouth Coastal Marathon.
It marked the end of a 260-mile fundraising drive that has raised more than £3,400 for Debra, a charity that cares for people with the skin condition epidermolysis bullosa (EB), which causes the skin to blister and tear and is classed as a ‘life-limiting’ condition.
The reason Debra was so close to Dave’s heart was that his best friend Pete Fincham’s children Freddie, 11, and Grace, 12, suffer from a rare strain of EB, and they have been supported by Debra.
Grace said: ‘We are very very proud of Dave and very touched for how much he has done for us.’
Brother Freddie added: ‘Dave is a big man but he ran really far and he is really nice and good.’
The pair ran the last mile of Dave’s final race with him along Southsea seafront.
Pete, 44, said: ‘I am so grateful to Dave and the man never knows when to stop, he just keeps going.
‘He is my best friend and truly inspiring to all.’
The cash Dave has raised for Debra will go to funding research to find effective treatments.
Pete said: ‘The money Dave has raised will go to a brilliant charity and although it will not directly affect Grace and Freddie, it will make a difference to the research they can do.
‘Debra has been running for 40 years but people never seem to know about it or even the condition itself.’
The charity recently undertook a £1.9m project to build a specialist centre at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.
Dave from Southsea said: ‘I wanted to help and each year I choose a different charity and this one is one close to our families. Each year you have to do something crazier than before to get people to donate but these 22 runs were harder than I thought.’
The 43-year-old added: ‘It is a very rare disease and I hope this money goes some way to helping the research.’
In the last few months towards the end of his challenge, Dave suffered a knee injury which left him unable to train for eight weeks.
Pete said: ‘Dave didn’t even think about not finishing the challenge and he just went and did it.’
To donate go to justgiving.com/fundraising/rodriguesduathlon.