Kannan Natchimuthu who is taking part in the London Marathon next month. Photo: Brian Lougheed

London’s calling

By Ellen O'Brien

Kannan Natchimuthu, a neo-natal expert working in CUMH, received his first pair of runners when he was 18 years old. Now at 46 he is gearing up to run a marathon in aid of the maternity hospital.

Originally from India, he moved to Ireland in 2006 where he developed an active lifestyle in sports despite never previously being involved in sporting activities.

He said: “With the help of my uncle, I got my first runners at 18 – for us, it was only rich people buying shoes. I didn’t tell my parents, my mum was saying it was very expensive and a waste of money, that I didn’t need shoes. The trainers cost 600 rupees (around €7 at the time), considered a fortune which would have fed an entire family in their village of Seethappatty for a month.”

After arriving in Ireland, he ran the Cork City Marathon annually for 12 years.

He also began to borrow bicycles to cycle in 50k road races and took up tennis. He is now a tennis coach and international umpire. He has also inspired his friends to take up running and to become part of a relay team.

“They never liked to run or jog, now nearly 50 of my friends have taken up running,” he said.

He studied paediatrics in Mumbai and completed his thesis in neo-natal care.

He secured his “dream job” working in the CUMH neo-natal unit in 2007.

On 21 April he will be joined by 30 other CUMH staff members who will be participating in the London City Marathon.

He said: “I always want to learn new things, every day is a new learning in life. We won’t know everything but we can try to learn more.”

10% of the 8,000 babies born in CUMH annually are premature or high risk requiring care in the neo-natal unit.

The hospital is the only one outside of Dublin with a cooling bed to reduce babies’ body temperature and stop potential brain swelling.

People can donate to Kannan’s fundraising drive at iDonate.ie.