Takeaway owner prepares for 363km challenge in memory of late son

A Warwick business owner is set to embark on the latest in a series of fundraising challenges to give back to those who helped care for his late son.

Baabzi Miah, who runs Baabzi Takeaway in Coten End, has pledged to walk and cycle a distance of 363 kilometres in aid of Mencap after already raising more than £10,000 for the NHS throughout the pandemic.

Baabzi Miah, Mencap, Down syndrome, NHS

Starting on March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day, Baabzi aims to walk the equivalent distance in kilometres as the number of days in his young son Adam’s life.

Adam, who was born with Down syndrome and pulmonary hypertension, died in 2017 at just 11 months old after suffering complications due to flu.

The takeaway owner from Birmingham, who also has six other children, said that he and his family would never forget the care they received during the ‘worst time in their lives’.

Baabzi Mia, down syndrome, Mencap
Adam is Baabzi’s inspiration for the fundraising

“Although his time was short it is in Adam’s memory that I am driven to help raise money for fantastic organisations that helped my son in every way possible during those 363 days,” he said.

“Mencap does some truly inspiring work and I wholeheartedly back their ethos that everybody is an individual and they treat everyone they work with as individuals.

“It’s work like this and their expertise that means Mencap is close to my heart. I want to help raise funds to help them to continue to provide excellent programs, services and support within this area.”

He added: “I’m going to start this challenge with 5km a day and then increase the daily target by 1 km daily so hopefully I’ll be completing it within six weeks.”

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21.

Laura Bruce, the area fundraiser for Mencap, said: “I am truly honoured to be supporting Baabzi and his family with their fundraising. It’s been such a difficult journey and helping them has been lovely. I have been supporting Baabzi for a number of years and he has already raised money for Mencap through activities in his takeaway. I am looking forward to supporting him throughout this year to raise an incredible £10,000.

She added: “Mencap is the leading learning disability charity, passionate about changing the world for the 1.5 million people with a learning disability. We’re here to improve the lives of people with a learning disability and their families right now and fight alongside them for a better future.”

This challenge marks the latest fundraiser since the launch of Baabzi’s Covid-19 NHS Appeal during the first lockdown last year and is in aid of the hospitals that cared for Adam – Heartlands and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

He has now raised more than £10,000 through events including a charity night, a sponsored cycling challenge and even a skydive last August.

Throughout the first lockdown he and his team also donated food parcels to Warwick and Birmingham Children’s Hospitals frontline workers as well as the Helping Hands homelessness charity in Leamington.

They also donated 2,000 surgical masks to staff at Warwick Hospital.

He said: “Our incredibly personal and life-changing experience heavily impacted our lives. Losing a child left a massive vacuum and the only way that I have been able to find much-needed comfort and peace has been this need to serve, to give back in some way.

“This has been a very personal journey for me and my family and it’s helped us heal. My family and I were cared for and lovingly supported by these wonderful people at the NHS during a harrowing time in their own lives. Nothing short of angelic teams of nurses and doctors tirelessly worked to save our baby boy, who sadly passed away after a brave battle to overcome his health challenges.

“I can never forget that and that’s why last year I raised money for the NHS and did whatever I could for them to show that support and respect that I have for them.”

He added: “You never know when you, a loved one or a friend will need the care, the medical attention and importantly the sacrifice of a front-line worker. There’s a time to give and a time to take, and this is where those of us who can, should give back.”

To support Baabzi’s fundraising visit: www.mencap.org.uk/donate

If you’d like more information on the charity, ways to get involved or even do your own fundraising, contact community.fundraising@mencap.org.uk 

Down’s syndrome

A person with Down’s syndrome will have some degree of learning disability, but the level of ability will be different for each individual.

They might take longer than other children their age to reach certain milestones and to develop certain skills and may also need ongoing support for different aspects of their life when they become an adult.

As with other conditions associated with learning disability, every person with Down’s syndrome is an individual and, with the right support and opportunities, can lead a happy and fulfilling life.

People with Down’s syndrome will typically have some level of learning disability and characteristic physical features.

There are some health problems associated with Down’s syndrome, such as heart problems and difficulties with sight and hearing, but these will not affect everyone with the condition.

People will live with the condition for their whole life, but there are ways to help children develop into healthy adults who are able to live the lives they choose. This includes:

  • access to good healthcare
  • early intervention programmes to provide support for children and parents
  • good relationships and family life
  • education and support groups.

Further information and advice about Down’s syndrome is available via the Mencap helpline between 10am and 3pm Monday to Friday on 0808 808 1111. Or email: helpline@mencap.org.uk

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