John and Soph

Take on your own challenge

Our story and motivation to take on the 42.2km Melbourne marathon

Like most people, we had very little idea when it comes to babies being born prematurely.  Our heart was full of hope and promise for the excitement of twin girls! We were excitedly preparing for the new arrivals and even when was Soph was put on strict hospital bed rest, the potential enormity of the situation had not hit us…. yet.

The pregnancy had been fairly routine, up until the point that we found out that there were complications, infection and waters breaking (at 23 weeks!).  After a nerve-wracking hospital stay on the maternity ward, not knowing what each day brought and wanting the pregnancy to continue for as long as possible (everyday counts!), the girls were born at 24 weeks and 6 days, weighing just over 500g each.

We were in total shock and disbelief. A wave of devastating emotions as our girls fought for their lives, while also fearful of the rocky road that lay ahead due to their extreme prematurity. Each conversation with the medical team was like a body blow and our heads were spinning with the possible issues and complications we could be facing.  The days were painfully slow and an emotional rollercoaster, in which the only thing that got us through was the amazing support from family and friends.

On day 2, Faye suffered a devastating seizure, resulting in a severe brain injury. The medical team said that she was not likely to survive, and that the next 24 hours were critical.  With the expertise of the medical staff, lifesaving technologies and equipment – Faye managed to pull through and for this, we will be forever thankful.

As a result of the brain bleed, Faye developed hydrocephalus and had to have her first brain surgery at 5 weeks old, followed by a second brain surgery (a permanent VP shunt placed) just after her due date.   At the same time, through the early weeks, Grace’s lungs stopped working properly and her oxygen requirement shot up to 100%, which resulted in a steroids treatment, just to be able to breathe! Not to mention our baby back on the ventilator!

The girls were very sick from their extreme premature birth and fought many complications with multiple transfusions, CPAP oxygen support, intubation, multiple infections, sepsis, respiratory distress syndrome, chronic lung disease, metabolic bone disease, meningitis, hypotension, a pulmonary haemorrhage, a congenital heart defect, a vision threatening eye disease, hydrocephalus, CRE colonisation to name a few…

The girls continue to amaze us every day and we feel that now is the right time to try and give back even a fraction of some of the amazing support we have received.

Knowing the enormity of the fight that the girls put up, will be our motivation and encouragement to really challenge ourselves to complete our first-ever full 42.2km marathon. 

Without the NICU medical teams and lifesaving equipment and surgeries, we know that we would be in a very different position and that our girls would not be here today. We want to give back and fundraise for lifesaving neonatal equipment for neonatal units around Australia.


Thank you to my Sponsors

$595

Klub Kildare

Well done

$515

Nanbo & Grandbo

So proud of you both. Enjoy the marathon experience and the beer afterwards!

$500

The Madparty

Dear John and Sophie, Thankyou for sharing your journey with us these past few months. We rejoice with you and so pleased to know that your precious little girls Grace and Faye are doing well and thriving. Please also look after yourselves and all the very best with the run! What an incredibly inspiring journey and ever better gesture. Many prayers, Krupa and Irene Madapati.

$354.96

Jamie

Well in

$261

David & Nicole Harrison

You two are an inspiration to us all. Love the Harrison's

$208.80

Sarah Maddison

So fabulous to have the gals home with you John. Here's a bit of inspiration for those last 9km so you can get back home to them ;-)

$208.80

Trond & Nicola

Inspirational, crazy & awesome! Sums up you two and the marathon. This is such an important cause - thank you for fundraising to it!

$208.80

Jenny Watson

Great work guys. Great day for it too

$208.80

Sam & Kerry

You guys are the best & you'll smash the marathon!

$208

Menidis Family

We are so proud of you both❤️❤️

$208

Carol Redrup

Wonderful to hear that your girls are doing well. Run well.

$208

Sean Elwick

You’re both officially mad but also inspiring. Great people do great things !

$208

Josh Ash

Legends and inspirations!

$208

Duncan Seager

Such a devastating situation so bravely handled by you all - twins, parents, and siblings. So pleased to be able to contribute so that future families get to benefit from the expert medical support you have received.

$208

Silvia Theodoridis

Go Sophie and John!! You guys are amazing and your story inspiring! Faye and Grace are just gorgeous! Congratulations to you and the girls for being so strong!! This is such a great way to thank the Monash Children’s Hospital! Without the amazing surgeons, docs and nurses, we wouldn’t have our little miracles in our arms today. Wishing you all the best of luck and strength for the marathon! Lots of love, Your NICU friend, Silvia 💝

$208

John Sinistaj

$208

Amanda & Rob

You two are amazing, and I have no doubt you’ll complete the marathon with ease! I can see where the girls get their strength!

$167.04

Amanda Cunningham

Congratulations Sophie and John ! Great achievement and we’re all so proud of you. All our love to the girls. Auntie Mandy, Kieran, Alannah, Aidan, Finn and Dearbhla in Sligo. xxxxxx

$156

Yc

We all need inspirational people like you two in our lives. Go you both. Will be rooting for you and waiting at the finish line with vodka sodas xx

$120

Jamie Broughall

So proud of you guys! Love Jamie and Niamh ❤️

$104.40

Anonymous

$104.40

Michelle Sutherland

The strength, positivity and love you have shown is truly amazing. Faye and Grace are miracles, and an inspiration thanks to their parents and the quality care of Monash.

$104.40

Hannah Sheean

Great initiate to raise money for little premmie babies like ours, such fighters they are !

$104.40

Lisa & Ciarán (london)

Well done Sophie & John. What an amazing achievement for your beautiful babies! So glad they are home and doing well. Cannot wait to meet them :-) Love from, Lisa & Ciarán xxxx

$104.40

Kevin & Erçin

Grace and Faye are blessed with such amazing role models as parents, it’s no wonder they’ve been so strong! Sending so much love from Paris. Cannot wait to meet the girls one day. Bises

$104

Kon Galitos

Well done on so many fronts !!

$104

Pavith Dassanayake

$104

Adrienne Carty

You guys are such an inspiration. You're both so strong, and the girls couldn't have had better people in their lives to help them through their journey. Sending so much love to your family, from Adrienne & Méalla in Limerick.

$104

Nada Dobric

Good luck guys and hope everything is smooth sailing from now on!

$104

Paul Velonis

Good luck on your marathon John and Soph, glad to head the girls are thriving.

$104

Fargher Family

$104

Andrew Bednarz

♥️

$104

Joe Harkin

$104

Christine And Damian

Good luck to you both! Amazing girls xx

$104

Steve Chan

Go John and Soph! Hope all of you stay healthy and safe.

$104

Emily & Ethan (big Sis And Bro)

We are so excited to have you home Grace & Faye. Try not to drive us too crazy!

$104

Tim Mundy

I think you are crazy, Good luck!

$104

John Temelli

The girls are amazing and so strong. Good luck with the marathon !

$104

Elliot Livingston

$104

Jeremy Lam

$104

Rhys Long

Incredible story. Will be there on the day too John and will be cheering you all the way

$100

Mike Nixon

Sorry John, forgot about this, but better late than never :-)

$100

Fadrian Sudaman

$100

Anonymous

$100

Beck Roberts

Congratulations! What an amazing achievement and great cause. Xx

$100

Annmarie And Phily Hayes

Well done John and Sophie! Love to you, Faye and Grace xx ❤️ 🇮🇪

$78.30

Laura Fitzgerald

Well done. Laura and Pat (Athgarvan Heights)

$62.40

Chris V

Very pleased to hear bout the positive outlook for your girls and best wishes to them both for the future. Thanks for sharing your story and for helping in this very worthy cause. Good luck for the marathon, no doubt will be a piece of cake in comparison.

$52.20

Sat Mishra

Our best wishes to you both, John and Soph and also to your angels! Very impressed with your commitment to the cause. May your tribe grow! Sat

$52.20

Cindy Murphy

$52.20

Janis

your whole family is an inspiration! good luck with the run

$52.20

Jordan Capp

I know you'll do your girls proud!

$52.20

Jennette Coffey

Wow, you are both so inspiring to say the least. The girls are so blessed to have such resilient parents to look up to. Sending big hugs to your little warrior princesses. Thanks for being so courageous and sharing your story. You’re spreading awareness and shining light on the reality of families with premature babies. Sending love and cheering for you all!

$52.20

Fiona Corrigan

You a both inspirations. Wishing you and your beautiful girls the best Fiona x

$52.20

Mairead Hayes

Amazing guys!

$52.20

Niamh Kennedy

You guys are amazing! Go Sophie and John!! You're inspirational ❤

$52.20

Liam Dempsey

$52.20

Phil Pierce

I know a bit about your story through your dad Sophie via Facebook. Taking this on after everything you've been through is amazing, well done to you both and best wishes to you all for the future.

$52.20

Brenda Beekmam

Thanks so much for sharing your story. My nephew was born at the same age and your photos have bought back so many memories. All the very best.

$52

Stephen T

$52

Mary Mulcahy

Congratulations John and Sophie on the arrival of your beautiful baby girls. You are such an inspiration. I can't believe that you are taking on a marathon 😳! Best of luck xxx

$52

Darrell Edmonds

$52

Anonymous

$52

Virginia Rapson

$52

John George Passakos

JS I wish you and your family best of health.

$52

Mandy Sinistaj

$52

Darren Bonnici

$52

Georgia Grigg

You guys are INCREDIBLE xxx

$52

Hasitha

Well wishes to you and your family. Good luck with the marathon.

$52

Sharon Tooley

Miracle babies indeed! What clever little girls to be born into such a loving and inspirational family. Very grateful to be living in a city that has access to such lifesaving medical services.

$52

David O'shea

$52

Uncle Jamie Smith

Well in Sophie .. Nan and grandad be so proud.

$52

Aido

Well done guys!! Your positivity through everything was inspirational 👏❤

$52

Dush Velcek

Dearest Sophie and John, You are an inspiration.. wishing you all the very best on running the marathon - take care stay safe - hydrate and stop at the drink stations - finish your drink.. have a few jelly babies in your pockets.. for that sugar hit. You can do this... My best always DUSH

$52

Aidan King

KlubKildare

$52

Denise L

Go you two. What an inspiring 🏃‍♀️

$52

Emma Michael

Such a great cause. And the best news to hear your gorgeous girls are thriving. I’m sure you will smash the marathon - the girls get their strength from their amazing parents.

$52

David

$52

Anonymous

Sophie and John, we are so happy that your beautiful girls Grace and Faye are home 💗💗send love from Ireland

$52

Michael Brunker

$52

Khalil Bennani

So glad to hear everything is going well now

$52

Susan Carey

Amazing, all the best with 42.2km run. Eoghan and I will be rooting for ye from Ireland x

$52

Biney Vargis

What an incredible journey you have been on and glad to hear that the girls are thriving. You guys are so inspirational and amazing. Good luck with the run..xx

$52

Mardi

$50

Fiona Hill

Well done on all the battles you have won this year, and good luck for the 42.2km! One step at a time, you’ve got this 🏃‍♀️🏃🏼

$50

Lynne O'neill

So proud of you both! You are such an inspiration ❤️

$50

Denise Hueston

You are an inspiration Soph. The girls are lucky to have you and John! Grace and Faye will get you across the finish line ❤️

$50

Adam Bugeja

well done. so inspirational! from the bugeja family

$50

Lexi Xx

Well done guys 💖 super proud. Such an amazing achievement.

$50

Katy Harrison

Well Done you guys, such an inspiration to all and we could not be prouder x

$50

Deepak Parbhoo

Well done John and team!

$50

Roisin Groarke

Amazing reason to get up and run, so happy you have the babies back home with you, keep up the Instagram updates, we love to see them!

$50

Tiffany Wong

Go John and Sophie! Massive run, but for such a wonderful cause! 🤩

$31.32

Mollie Dave And Gabe Xxx

Cheering you on from Liverpool. So proud of you Soph xxxxx

$20.88

Anonymous

$20.88

Glav

Absolute legends all of you xxxx

$20.88

Jennette Coffey

Wow, you are both so inspiring to say the least. The girls are so blessed to have such resilient parents to look up to. Sending big hugs to your little warrior princesses. Thanks for being so courageous and sharing your story. You’re spreading awareness and shining light on the reality of families with premature babies. Sending love and cheering for you all!

$20.88

Darragh Glavin

Your girls are inspirational! Good luck with the run! Love Darragh & Rachel ❤️

$20.88

Helen Charles

Good luck - hope you have a fantastic run.

$20.88

Rhianna Garey

You guys are amazing

$20.88

Davy Mc

$20.80

Erica Lawler

$20.80

Michelle Curnow

I think you are amazing, so inspiring. The four of you are just incredible, what a team!! ❤❤❤

$20.80

Evelyn

$20.80

Aysha Cincotta

Wonderful cause, you two legends and beautiful people. Stay safe xx

$20.80

Kerst Dance

Go Soph - so proud of you and your family's journey.

$20.80

Michelle Nguyen

Such an amazing cause and so happy to hear the girls are home and thriving!

$20.80

Aidan Bradley

Great cause, and good luck with the marathon!

$20.80

Claire Pollard

$20.80

Lally M

$20.80

Sophia Menidis

I love you both and love Faye and Grace. You all are so unbelievably strong. Xx

$20.80

Mary Lawler

Best wishes for your fundraiser. Hope you reach your goal.Your Babies are beautiful .

$20.80

Christina Lawler

Best of luck from Ireland 🇮🇪 Your daughters are beautiful 😍

$20.80

Panos Menidis

$20.80

Amanda Forth

I’m so pleased to hear your gorgeous girls are going well. Inspirational! Best of luck for an amazing cause

$20.80

Emma Hoctor

Best of luck guys! Hope everyone's doing well. Love to you all xxxxx

$20.80

Papa Murphy

$20.80

Laura

Good luck!

$20.80

Jess Dixon

So happy that your girls are thriving!

$20.80

Liv Carrig

Lads what an inspiring duo you both are! You shared the girls journey all the way when times were bad and good, enjoy this now together! The fun is just starting. Love from Limerick

$20.80

Kat Rose

Amazing guys! I couldn’t imagine what you and your girls have gone through so great to hear everything is ok x

$20.80

Siân Loftus

Wow so proud of you Soph! Good luck you’ll both do great. Lots of love Xx

$20

Jason Scopelliti

$20

Court Dufty

Go you good things!

$10.40

Thomas Brennan

$10.40

Danielle Kinsella

$6.26

Anonymous