A FATHER will trek 200 miles across a frozen lake in Russia to raise cash for a charity that helped him while his newborn daughter had life-saving treatment.

Greg Bower, 40, stayed at Ronald McDonald House while little Ellie was in the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

She had perinatal asphyxia and her unique treatment involved being cooled to 33.3C on a cooling mat.

It was this that inspired Greg’s challenge.

He wanted to raise money for Ronald McDonald House, which allows children in hospital to have their parents staying close by, free of charge.

The Argus: Ellie had to be kept on an active cooling mat at 33.3 degrees centigrade.Ellie had to be kept on an active cooling mat at 33.3 degrees centigrade.

He decided to cross Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake by volume, which is in southern Siberia.

He said Ellie’s treatment was based on total body hypothermia treatment, to draw blood away from her brain and relieve pressure to avoid brain damage.

Greg said: “That was derived from people who have fallen into frozen lakes. What happens when your body falls into such freezing water is, your body goes into hypothermic shock. That was the catalyst for this treatment for babies.”

The cooling mat helped draw all the blood into her vital organs and away from her brain to stop it from swelling.

The Bower family, from Ashford in Kent, spent almost a week in Brighton after Ellie’s birth in 2012.

The Argus: The Bower family.The Bower family.

During this time, Ellie was “frozen” for around 48 to 72 hours to help relieve pressure on her brain.

She then spent 24 hours being warmed up and another 24 hours being monitored.

Ellie is now completely healthy and was described by her dad as a “beaming eight-year-old”.

Greg said his wife Mel was grateful for the charity but was a little anxious about his trek, which is in February 2022.

The Argus: Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world.Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake in the world.

He said: “She is eternally grateful for what the charity did for us but he thinks the challenge is slightly crazy.”

Ellie and her little brother think it is “Daddy’s big adventure”.

Greg said: “They think that Dad is going to go off and fight polar bears and things like that.

“Ellie is still very thankful for the story we’ve explained to her, she sees the value in doing a charity trip like this.”

Greg is fully aware of the dangers of stepping foot on to a frozen lake which can reach minus 40C at night.

The Argus: The route Greg will take across Lake Baikal.The route Greg will take across Lake Baikal.

He said: “It isn’t without risk, there’s possibilities that we may have breakdowns in equipment, we may have the possibility that the ice might break and someone could slip through it, injuries from slipping on the ice, hypothermia and your general ailments from frostbite and wind chap.

"We are about an hour away by hovercraft to the shore, but that’s just to the shore. There is quite a bit of risk involved because you’re talking about temperatures of about minus 11 degrees, it can get to  minus 40 degrees.”

Greg is seeking up to ten explorers to join him for the trip. He said places are limited to ten, but anyone interested can fill in the application form and Q&A by clicking here.

He also has a JustGiving page.

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