Mintlaw dad to run from Glasgow to Aberdeen in 36-hour challenge

A Mintlaw new dad is to run from Glasgow to Aberdeen, the equivalent of six non-stop marathons – to raise funds for two charities which have supported his premature son, who was born with an extremely rare genetic condition.

Andrew Smith (29) is hoping to raise £50,000 for Ronald McDonald House Glasgow and The Archie Foundation, the start and end points of his epic challenge on June 1.

Baby Louie was born on September 9, arriving 12 weeks early and weighing 3lb 7oz, taking his dad and mum Nancie Mead (23) by surprise during a ‘babymoon’ holiday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The couple, who live in Mintlaw, had moved to Israel with Andrew’s work as operations manager for Score Israel Valve Services and had returned to the UK to visit family and do some shopping for things for the baby.

Louie suffers from a rare genetic disorder.Louie suffers from a rare genetic disorder.
Louie suffers from a rare genetic disorder.

During the trip, Nancie went to hospital with back pain, which was initially thought to be a urinary tract infection, however it was established she was actually in labour and the couple were stunned to be told their baby boy was on the way.

Louie was cared for in the neonatal unit at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, where he began to have frequent apnoea episodes - a sudden cessation of breathing that lasts for at least 20 seconds.

Andrew explained: “Louie had several procedures including an MRI scan, blood tests, CT scans and -xrays, checking for obstructions in his respiratory system. One of his consultants noticed Louie making involuntary movements, which was one of the factors that led to us undergoing genetic testing to see if that could help to explain Louie’s condition.

“Nancie, Louie and I all provided samples for genetic testing to find out whether there were changes in any of his genes that could be causing his health problems.”

​Andrew and Nancie with Paula Cormack (left), chief executive of The Archie Foundation.​Andrew and Nancie with Paula Cormack (left), chief executive of The Archie Foundation.
​Andrew and Nancie with Paula Cormack (left), chief executive of The Archie Foundation.

At just seven weeks old, Louie was flown to the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow, for surgery on his windpipe to try to reduce his apnoea. While they were in Glasgow, the family were told that Louie has an ultra-rare genetic disorder, thought to affect less than 100 people in the world.

“We were under the impression that the surgery would be the cure to his apnoea, so the diagnosis was a huge shock, especially as there are thought to be less than 100 people in the world with the same disorder as Louie,” said Andrew.

“He will have some additional challenges or require regular visits to the children’s hospital over the coming months and years, but he’s a healthy, thriving wee boy who is alert and gaining weight.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“He recognises the sound of his mum and dad’s voices, waking up when he hears us talking on the ward. We love talking to him and reading him stories like Jack and the FlumFlum Tree,” added Andrew, who is originally from Fraserburgh.

After a move to the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital from the neonatal unit, Andrew and Nancie hope to be able to take Louie home soon and settle into family life. The new parents have received immeasurable support from both The Archie Foundation and RonaldMcDonald House Glasgow.

Already an ultra-runner, Andrew wanted to take on a challenge that would combine his love of running and the charities that have done so much to support the Smith family. It was as he was running along the River Clyde while Louie was in hospital in Glasgow that Andrew came up with the idea for the challenge.

The journey will be around 165 miles, with a route likely to take in Glasgow, Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Montrose, Arbroath, Stonehaven and Aberdeen. He plans to run it in one go, with food stops on the way and micro naps at the side of the road - but no overnight stops.

Visit to see Andrew’s launch video and to support his challenge.

Related topics: