A Tees Valley dad pushed himself to the limit to raise £1,200 for The Sick Children’s Trust to thank the charity for giving him free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation when his daughter needed specialist heart treatment miles away from home.
Paul Edwards, 28, from Redcar, took on Total Warrior – the pinnacle of obstacle courses – to raise vital funds for The Sick Children’s Trust. The charity, which supports families with seriously ill children in hospital, gave Paul free accommodation at its Scott House when his daughter, Lena, was admitted to Newcastle upon Tyne’s Freeman Hospital.
At a month old, Lena was rushed to The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), a condition in which the heart suddenly beats much faster than usual. Within hours she was referred to Freeman Hospital, miles from home, for specialist treatment. During this time, The Sick Children’s Trust provided Paul and his partner Kirsty with free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation at its Scott House, located within the hospital grounds. Paul, Lead Technician at Lotte Chemical UK Ltd, says:
“Lena was rushed into a room at The James Cook University Hospital which was full of doctors trying to help her. Her heart rate was at 360 which was dangerously high, and the way to get it down was by dunking her head in a bucket of ice cold water. She was taken to intensive care and was hooked up to so many machines. Seeing all this happening right before our eyes was crushing. We were so scared of what would happen to our baby.
“We had no idea what SVT was, we’d never even heard of it. Once we were transferred to Freeman Hospital, everything became a lot clear – and less chaotic. The medical team described what SVT was and the effect this episode had had on Lena. It had caused damage to her heart which is why she needed to be seen by the specialists at Freeman Hospital.
“At this point, we didn’t know how long to expect to be in Newcastle and while the doctors settled Lena into the ward, the nurses told us about Scott House which is run by The Sick Children’s Trust. Immediately, Kirsty and I felt so relieved. Being given free accommodation meant that we could both be there together, supporting Lena and each other. When your child is in hospital, it’s such a worrying time and you need the support of your partner or family. You need them there right beside you to talk about your thoughts and concerns. It’s a lot easier facing it together. Scott House made this possible. We took it in turns to sleep by Lena’s bedside, while one of us stayed at Scott House which made us both feel really involved in Lena’s care and it gave us strength.”
After four days, Lena was discharged and is now thriving at eighteen months old. Her parents are hopeful that she will grow out of SVT.
Three months ago, Paul was inspired by his daughter’s strength to improve his fitness and lifestyle and as part of that chose to take on the Total Warrior to raise funds for The Sick Children’s Trust. He continues:
“I’ve wanted to give something back to The Sick Children’s Trust to thank the charity for helping my family and so many more. Taking part in the Total Warrior was great – I would do it again!
“I am completely overwhelmed with everyone’s support. I originally wanted to raise £300, but to have raised £900 more than that is unbelievable. I’m just so pleased that by taking on this challenge The Sick Children’s Trust will be able to support even more families when their lives are thrown into turmoil. Having a ‘Home from Home’ really takes so much stress away and allows you, as a parent, to focus on your child.”
The Sick Children’s Trust runs ten ‘Homes from Home’, supporting around 4,000 families every year with seriously ill children in hospital. Although the accommodation is provided free to families, it costs the charity £30 to support a family for one night. Scott House Manager, Linsey Brough, says:
“When we meet families for the first time and show them around Scott House, you can see the relief on their faces. They realise that they no longer have to worry about leaving their child’s hospital bedside.
“We are so grateful to Paul for choosing to fundraise for us, the money he’s raised is enough to support 40 families with ‘Home from Home’ accommodation for one night. As a charity we rely entirely on voluntary donations to support families through these incredibly tough times, so on behalf of everyone at The Sick Children’s Trust, we’d like to say a huge thank you.”
To support Paul’s fundraising mission, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-edwards89 and for further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/