The Mum of a little boy who last year underwent major surgery at just four weeks old completed a sponsored 23 mile walk from The Sick Children’s Trust ‘Home from Home’ Magnolia House to Wakefield to thank the charity for supporting her family when her son underwent lifesaving treatment in Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Anna Shepherd, 22, and Sam Railton, 26, from Crofton, felt their world collapse when their 25 day old son Stevie was rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery. Stevie had been born perfectly healthy but during his first few weeks of life he was vomiting constantly. It was discovered that he had a condition where the muscle allowing food to pass from the stomach to the intestine had become enlarged and blocked, meaning Stevie was struggling to feed and becoming dangerously ill.
Stevie had to undergo major surgery at Sheffield Children’s Hospital to widen the passage so that food could be digested. For three days afterwards, he remained at the specialist hospital – over an hour away from the family’s home. Fortunately, during this time The Sick Children’s Trust supported his parents with free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation at Magnolia House, just a few minutes’ walk from Stevie’s bedside.
Last year, the couple raised £325 for the charity at the family’s Boxing Day fundraiser and last month, Mum Anna, raised a further £1,864 when she walked the 23 mile journey which she would’ve had to travel every day had it not been for the support from The Sick Children’s Trust. The walk – on which Anna was accompanied by seven family members and friends – took ten hours to complete. Anna, who works as a carer, says:
“Although the walk was tough and I found it really challenging, it was nothing compared to the pain we experienced when Stevie was ill. We were all suffering with very sore feet and tired legs by the end, but it was a huge achievement to complete the 23 miles and the sweat and tears were worth it!
“It was really scary when we were told just how ill Stevie was and that he needed to be transferred so far away from home. Thankfully, we were able to be with him throughout his treatment because of The Sick Children’s Trust which gave us free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation just minutes from Stevie’s hospital bedside at Magnolia House.
“Magnolia House was wonderful, it meant we didn’t have to travel two hours a day to be with our son, we didn’t have the financial burden of paying for petrol or hospital food, and we could actually get some rest ourselves.
“The Sick Children’s Trust supported us for the whole time Stevie was in hospital and we feel really lucky that he made such a speedy recovery. When we were at Magnolia House, we met lots of other families who had really poorly children and some had been in hospital for weeks. Without this free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation they wouldn’t have been able to be there for their child. So not only did we want to fundraise to say thank you for the support The Sick Children’s Trust gave us, but we wanted to raise money to ensure the charity can support other families in a similar situation.
“We have raised over £2,000 for The Sick Children’s Trust and I definitely think I have caught the fundraising bug! And now that Stevie is on the mend, we want to do all we can for the charity that was there for us in our time of need.”
The Sick Children’s Trust runs ten free ‘Homes from Home’ across the country supporting around 4,000 families with seriously ill children in hospital every year. There are three ‘Homes from Home’ in Yorkshire, two in Sheffield which support families with seriously ill children at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and one supporting families with children undergoing treatment at Leeds General Infirmary. Ann Wyatt, The Sick Children’s Trust’s Magnolia House Manager, says:
“It means so much to us when families like Stevie’s go home and fundraise to say thanks for keeping them together. It costs the charity £30 to support a family for a night in one of our ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country.
“When a child is seriously ill it’s vital that they have their loved one is close by, and our ‘Homes from Home’ mean that families – like Anna’s - are just minutes from their child’s bedside. So, we’d like to say thank you to Anna and her friends for fundraising for us – their generous donation will make a real difference.”