A Melton man is preparing to run 160 miles across the Sahara Desert in intense heat to raise £5,000 for the hospitals which have treated members of his family.
Sam Jensch, who is serving in the Army, is taking on the gruelling Marathon des Sables - dubbed ‘the toughest footrace on earth’ - over six days in April.
Competitors take part in temperatures which soar over 50 degrees and they each have to carry a backpack to allow them to survive self-sufficiently for a week.
But Sam will be inspired to complete the course because all the money he raises will go to the Leicester Hospitals Charity which funds the three main city hospitals.
He said: “I have a very personal connection with the hospitals in Leicester.
“They provided a triple-heart bypass to my grandad which has added more than a decade on to his life.
“They have continued to cater for my dad’s ongoing battle with Crohn’s disease and also saved my mum’s life when she was involved in a car crash in 2008.
“They then put my mum to rest when she sadly passed away in March.”
Sam, who lives in Honeysuckle Way, has experience of running long distances after completing the London Marathon last year in three hours and 52 minutes, raising £2,500 for the Royal British Legion.
He has been training hard, with the Army giving him time to develop his stamina and helping promote his fundraising, for what will be a much more arduous challenge in Africa.
One of the stages he faces is more than 50 miles long and as well as trying to avoid exhaustion and blisters he needs to be wary of dangerous wildlife - one of the items in his backpack will be an anti-venom pump in case he is bitten by a scorpion or spider.
Sam said he would be grateful for any sponsorship pledges he receives, adding: “I would like to use this slightly ridiculous, once in a lifetime opportunity, to repay the Leicester hospitals for all they’ve done to look after our family and in the hope that they can continue to look after the rest of the county for many years to come.”
To sponsor Sam go to www.justgiving.com/samjensch2015mds or text ‘SAMJ84 £5/£10/£20’ to 70070.