On 30th January 2023, Mike Bates completed the Talisker Atlantic Challenge, rowing 3,000 solo across the Atlantic Ocean after spending 46 days, 6 hours, and 10 minutes at sea.

Despite facing the elements along the way, Mike’s determination spurred him on, and he was the first solo rower to arrive in Antigua.

42-year-old Mike, from Roundhay, has raised over £175,000 with £137,000 of funds raised going to Leeds Hospitals Charity. Mike has contributed £65,000 to benefit some of Leeds Children’s Hospital’s smallest patients, as well as donating £50,000 to the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Appeal and remaining funds supporting projects across Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

Last week, Mike visited the High Dependency Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital, to see how his fundraising will help some of the sickest children in our region.

Mike spoke to us what it was like to see first-hand the difference his fundraising is making:

“As a family we're extremely grateful to have received life-saving care for Gabe at Leeds General Infirmary when he needed it the most. Rowing across an ocean alone and raising funds to help other families in a similar situation to ours was the least I could do. 

“Our experience in hospital showed us the amazing work Leeds Hospitals Charity does to support our community and as a family we're proud to have contributed to this important mission.  It was a solo row but a team effort.  I'd like to thank everyone who helped to make The Atlantic Grappler campaign a success'.   

Read More: Determined dad sails the Atlantic solo, raising £170,000 for Leeds Hospitals

Thanks to Mike’s inspirational fundraising efforts six new monitors have been purchased for the High Dependency Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital.

The unit cares for hundreds of children a year and many of the young patients require close observation around the clock to monitor their recovery or the need for additional treatment.

Amy Allen, Ward Manager on the High Dependency Unit, spoke to us about the importance of these monitors:

“It was amazing to meet Mike in person and show him the positive impact his fundraising has made after we had all closely followed his epic journey across the Atlantic Ocean. These monitors are hugely important for us to carry out the safe care of patients in critical care and give us the ability to assess, plan, implement and evaluate care effectively and to recognise deterioration early.

“Inspirational fundraisers like Mike help Leeds Hospitals Charity fund projects that mean we can make hospital a little brighter for some of the sickest children we care for and their families.”

Mike Bates with monitor he funded on the High Dependency Unit

Esther Wakeman, CEO of Leeds Hospitals Charity said:

“We were delighted to welcome Mike to Leeds Children’s Hospital to see first-hand how his fundraising is already making an incredible difference to poorly children and their families. Mike has gone above and beyond by taking on this extraordinary challenge that I could not comprehend facing in my wildest dreams, he is a real-life hero.”

“All of us at Leeds Hospitals Charity have been inspired by Mike’s Yorkshire grit in the face of the many hurdles he faced along the way. Mike’s fundraising will have a lasting impact and benefit future generations of children and their loved ones.”

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