A proud Surbiton Grandad has raised over £300 for The Sick Children’s Trust after running the iconic Virgin Money London Marathon last weekend.
Self-employed Noel Hollingsworth, 56, completed the London Marathon yesterday in 3hrs 37ms raising £330 for The Sick Children’s Trust charity. The Sick Children’s Trust supported his daughter, Emily Smallbone and husband Luke Smallbone, when their five-week-old daughter Esmé was rushed to The Royal London Hospital with breathing difficulties.
For four days, little Esmé was put on a ventilator to help fight against three major lung conditions, bronchiolitis, rhinovirus and pulmonary interstitial emphysema at The Royal London. While Esmé fought on the Intensive Care Unit, The Sick Children’s Trust supported her family with free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation at Stevenson House. Stevenson House is located just a few minutes from the children’s wards and allows families to remain close to their sick child’s hospital bedside.
Noel, who wanted to thank the charity for its support, says: “The Sick Children’s Trust is an amazing charity that supported my daughter and her family when they needed to be with their seriously ill daughter. Had it not been for Stevenson House, it would have been very difficult for my daughter to be with Esmé when she needed her Mum the most. It made things that little bit easier at a very stressful and worrying time in our lives.
“When I was running, what kept me going was thinking of how The Sick Children’s Trust enabled Emily’s whole family to be there for Esmé, including their eldest daughter Ava. Not only that, but knowing the difference the money people have donated will make to more families who find themselves in a similar situation really spurred me on.”
Esmé was discharged from The Royal London Hospital after four days and transferred to the family’s local hospital, in Kingston, for a further two weeks. She was allowed home just before Christmas last year. Mum Emily, 30, adds:
“It was the worst moment of my life when we were told Esmé had to be transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at The Royal London - my husband and I were terrified. The doctors were very good and supportive though, they explained everything to us and answered all our questions. But it was a very uncertain time for us all.
“Staying at Stevenson House during this was a huge relief. We stayed there for three nights which made it possible for us to be by our daughter’s side when she needed us the most. The staff were amazing and made us feel at home straight away. And we could have our eldest daughter Ava with us too. Without Stevenson House, we would not have been able to stay with her overnight.”
It costs The Sick Children’s Trust £30 per night to support a family in one of its ten ‘Homes from Home’ around the country. Alongside a private bedroom, the ‘Homes from Home’ include access to communal living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, playrooms and laundry facilities.
Community Fundraiser, Diane Mcpherson-Emery, says: “We’d like to say a huge well done to Noel for completing the London Marathon, and an even bigger thank you for fundraising for us. It costs on average around £30 a night to support a family in one of our ‘Homes from Home’, so this money will go towards supporting many more families with sick children in hospital.”
Noel was one of 19 runners raising money for The Sick Children’s Trust through the Virgin Money London Marathon. Support him at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/NoelHollingsworth