When George Mathias was 4 years old, he received what he thought was the best gift ever: a little brother.
“He was born very early—just like me; and he was born very small—just like me,” George said. He was ecstatic to have a new brother and friend.
But a few days later, something went wrong. Baby James stopped breathing, then fell into a coma. He was rushed to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and kept in intensive care. George was terrified.
“I was so scared. I thought I was going to lose my new best friend,” said George.
Days later, James recovered, thanks to high quality medical care.
Seeing James in intensive care was an ordeal for the whole family, according to Richard Mathias, George’s father, but it had a profound impact on George.
“He’s been desperate, saying, ‘Dad I want to do something,'” his father said.
Watching his tiny little brother as he was attached to all the medical equipment keeping him alive, George had the thought that there were other babies in this situation too.
“I want to raise money for equipment to save other children’s lives,” George said.
James is now 6 years old, and George is 10. George decided to start a charity so he could help, and he came up with the idea of running to raise money. He decided to run a mile for every month James has been with him, he said in December.
He’s since decided to run 100 miles, the equivalent of nearly four marathons.
“I hope I can get some other people to join me,” George said.
Many notable people have reached out to run with George, including Olympic swimmer Fran Halsall…
…rugby player Jon Wilkin…
…television personality Jason Manford, comedian John Bishop, English football coach Steven Gerrard, and an Afghanistan vet who lost both legs and an arm to a landmine.
In May, George finished 52 miles and raised over $31,800 (25,000 pounds) for intensive care equipment.
Last week, on June 22, George went back to visit the hospital, and met little Theo, who was brought in to have open heart surgery.
Theo is benefiting from the equipment George donated.
“I was really shocked and speechless when I saw this, and really proud,” George wrote.