COMMITTED fundraiser Andrew Baker is again throwing his weight behind the OX5 Run – despite being too unwell to compete himself.

Mr Baker, of King Walk, Didcot, has been in and out of hospital since the age of 12, when he had brain surgery at the Radcliffe Infimary to remove a bony spur in his skull.

The former pupil of St Birinus School in Didcot suffered a peri-natal brain injury at birth which affected his speech and learning and has thrown up more difficulties as he has entered adulthood, including balance problems, dizziness and crippling headaches.

Despite a catalogue of health problems, Mr Baker founded the Play2Give fundraising campaign, collecting more than £20,000 for Oxford Children’s Hospital.

And for the second year running, the 22-year-old is entering his own team into the OX5 Run.

He explained: “I had six runners take part last year, mainly family members, and I also helped to spread word of the OX5 Run through my Facebook page.

“My team was amazing, raising close to £600. I was so proud of them. This year my team is called Andrew’s Barmy Running Warriors, and it will again be made up of any family and friends of mine or any other people who know me who want to take part.”

He added: “I have never run in the OX5 – mainly because of my health. But if I could and was fully fit and able to do so, I sure would be one of the first to sign up!

“I hope to have at least five in my team this year – but more would be better and I would love to hear from people through Facebook. The more we can all do to help the Oxford Children’s Hospital, the better.”

Mr Baker is now receiving treatment at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, where this month he began intensive vestibular rehabilitation physiotherapy to help with his balance disorder and also to help relieve his migraines.

He said: “Vestibular rehabilitation is a specialist kind of physio that helps to retrain the brain and process signals – the aim is to help reduce my symptoms so they can help me have as full and normal a life as possible.”

He added: “My support for the OX5 and the hospital charity CHOX has been to say a very big thank-you for the brilliant work the docs did in my brain operation.

“It’s an amazing place up there with so many people coping with such challenging things and receiving great treatment from the staff. I would like to encourage others to take part in the OX5 – you will be doing something brilliant for poorly children.”

The ninth OX5 Run will take place at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, on Sunday, March 20, and organisers are hoping to break all previous records.

Last April, more than 850 runners completed the run and raised £57,000.

This year they want 1,000 runners to beat that total.

To sign up go to or click on the link on this page.

The Oxford Mail would also like to hear from other people planning to take part. Call 01865 425444.