What do fundraising, fried chicken, and turning 40 all have in common? The answer is Newcastle Hotel general manager Nicholas Brady.
In addition to operating the Newcastle Hotel, Brady is also the founder of popular in-venue food offering Newy Fried Chicken, and for his fortieth birthday the self-titled ‘Fry Guy’, decided to do something monumental to mark the occasion.
“I initially thought what if I ran 40kms to coincide with my 40th birthday but that felt a little bit too easy, so I got to thinking,” he said.
“Then I came up with the crazy idea to run 40kms every day for 40 days and end on my 40th birthday.”
When Brady told his wife and friends about the idea, they suggested using the project to raise money for a well-deserving organisation.
“When I told everyone they all said it was such an epic undertaking that I should use to it raise money. I knew they were right but then I had to sit down and think about who I wanted to be the recipient.”
As the father of two happy, healthy children and with a wife whose work in midwifery often sees her at the John Hunter Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the decision made itself.
“We’re blessed to have two healthy kids and they’re the most important thing in the world to me,” he said.
“I tried to imagine what it would be like if they were diagnosed with a serious or terminal illness. We live just down the road from the John Hunter Hospital, and I know there are kids up there battling every day, so all in all, it made sense to raise money for the NICU.”
"We live just down the road from the John Hunter Hospital, and I know there are kids up there battling every day, so all in all, it made sense to raise money for the NICU ” - Nic Brady.
For forty days, Brady pulled on his runners and, despite the weather, set out on his 40km journey. In the beginning, he planned to run 20kms in the morning and 20kms in the afternoon to fit in with his work schedule at both the Newcastle Hotel and Newy Fried Chicken, but eventually found that it was impossible to maintain.
“In the end, I had to commit to the full 40kms in one hit,” he said.
“At first, I was running then some days my body hurt so much I had to walk. On those days it took me up to 10 hours to complete the journey and it was a tough slog.”
Initially, Brady’s goal was to raise $40,000 for the organisation and at the completion of his gruelling campaign he is just over halfway there.
“While I’m proud to have raised $20,000 it would have been good to reach my target,” he said.
“But I haven’t given up and we’re still receiving donations from individuals and businesses. Hopefully, we can still reach $40,000.”
When asked why he decided to take on the challenge, he said the answer was pretty simple.
“If you’re someone who’s in the hospitality industry there’s a good chance you feel a strong connection to human beings and genuinely like people,” he said.
“And if you like people you want to be able to give back to them. It’s as simple as that really.”
To donate to the campaign, go to https://tinyurl.com/4mtnme3k