A BLACKWOOD dad has set himself an epic challenge to run 200 miles during November to raise awareness of Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida - a condition his two-year-old son has.

Jamie Cunningham, 31, will run 10.7km every day for 30 days straight in aid of Shine, a charity which provides specialist support from before birth and throughout the life of anyone living with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus, as well as to parents, families, carers and professional care staff.

Mr Cunningham decided to take on the challenge because not only his son has the condition but his uncle, Chris Rees, of Gelligaer, was also a sufferer.

Mr Cunningham, who describes himself as very sporty but not a runner, said: "Shine supported my Uncle Chris through his whole life. He was wheelchair bound and had learning difficulties, but he never let anything stop him. He was an amazing wheelchair racer and weight lifter for Wales.

"My son was born with Spina Bifida and it was expected that he would also be wheelchair bound and have issues with hydrocephalus. But he is a little miracle and is fighting against the odds every day. He is absolutely incredible and will continue to battle with the help of Shine."

South Wales Argus: Jamie Cunningham with his uncle, Chris ReesJamie Cunningham with his uncle, Chris Rees

Mr Cunningham, who runs Next-Gen Sports Academy, said: "I wanted a challenge that will push my limits as it represents the fighting spirit of my boy and my uncle."

Next-Gen Sports Academy works across 10 primary schools in the Blaenau Gwent area to try improve PE to allow every kid to excel and become healthy focusing on alternative skill based games to make PE more inclusive for all kids.

Mr Cunningham, who plays baseball with Cardiff Merlins, said his family, friends and teammates think he is crazy.

"They are full behind me though and think I will smash the challenge," he said.

He said his training has been going well and plans to mix up his routes throughout November but will be running 5.35km towards Fleur-de-lis during his first week of the challenge on a fairly flat route before turning round and running home.

South Wales Argus: Tommy with his mum HarleyTommy with his mum Harley

He said: "I'll be running by myself every day. The plan is to get up around 5am every morning and get it done before work."

He said: "When we had Tommy's diagnosis it was heart breaking.

"We had several doctors talking about all the different options but me and his mum, Harley Kealty, both said as long as he was able to live a life where he could be happy and function without too much pain we would do everything to give him the best life.

"They thought he would be paralysed and brain damaged due to the Hydrocephalus.

"However when he was born he was a miracle and currently has full use of his legs with no brain damage. He also born with white matter disease which doctors thought he would last a few months but after a year it all cleared up.

South Wales Argus: Miracle Boy TommyMiracle Boy Tommy

"He has problems with his bladder and has to be catheterised three times a day. This will be something for his whole life but he is so happy and an absolute fighter.

"We don't know how his spine and legs will develop in the long term but Shine will always be there for support.

"My uncle wasn't so lucky. He was paralysed from birth and suffered with brain damage due to Hydrocephalus. But that never stopped him. He was a wheelchair racer and weight lifter for Wales and lived past his predicted life expectancy."

Mr Cunningham has set himself a target of £2,000 and has already raised £879.

To donate go to his JustGiving page at https://tinyurl.com/bdestcxr