My name is Finn Darrington. I'm 14 years old and I live in East Sussex, and I'm participating in the Commando Series obstacle run in November 2019 at Hever Castle, to try and raise some money for the paediatric ward (Peanut Ward) at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.
I was 7 months old when I first visited Peanut Ward, to be treated for a burn injury to my hand, and since then I've had multiple surgeries, mainly for skin grafts but also for bone splints over the years, and visit the hospital every 6-12 months for check ups. I know that I will need to have more surgery in the future too, as things change as I grow. When I was younger I would be in for several nights, but these days it's usually day surgery.
QVH is a burns specialist hospital, but they also specialise in lots of other plastic surgeries, including for cleft lips/ palates. I'm lucky to live quite near the hospital, but people travel miles to have treatment there because of the specialised surgery they carry out.
I want to raise money for the ward because of the amazing job they do. Going to hospital and having surgery is never fun, especially not when you have to keep going back for more. The Nurses, Doctors, therapy assistants and play workers on the Peanut ward and assessment unit are brilliant at what they do, they are all friendly, funny, kind and they make sure you feel comfortable, and they all remember you! They really make a difference when you're staying there and without them the ward wouldn't be anywhere near as good as it is.
I've met lots of different kids on the ward, and now I also attend an annual 3 day residential activity trip for kids who have been through the ward, which Peanut Ward organise and fund jointly with the fire service every single year, and their staff take timeout to take us there and have fun. It means I've met other people with similar experiences, where having a scar isn't a big deal. It's really good fun, and made me realise how much work and dedication ALL the staff and the hospital put into caring for kids on Peanut, so I'd really like to give something back.
At the moment the ward are trying to improve their play and learning equipment. When I was visiting and staying at hospital for longer times, the play equipment and facilities really helped to distract me when I was hurting, and stop me getting too bored. They have things for babies right up to gaming for teenagers, and help support learning for those who are there and missing school for longer times.
The outside area is getting quite tired though and a lot of the toys are old, as you can see in the photo here. The outside flooring also needs changing as it has started to melt in the hotter weather. The ward also want to install a permanent sun shade / extending roof so that it's safe for kids (and parents) to be out there in all weathers. Getting fresh air when you've been stuck in a hospital room for ages really helps, whether it's hot or rainy!! I hope that the money I raise might be able to go towards this, and benefit other kids who have similar experiences to me. The ward are also saving for a piece of equipment that provides virtual learning to use in the play room. I'm aiming for £500, but if we can get over that it would be even more amazing for the ward, and all that they do.
The Commando Run I'm doing in November is the first event I've done, so I have worked out a training plan to make sure I'm ready to complete it! My Mum will be running with me as I'm not old enough to do it alone. I'll try and put updates on here as I go through the training. The event is a run with 24 obstacles, but military style, and includes wading through/ swimming in lakes (in November!), push ups and fitness (in the mud), monkey bars, climbing and navigating 24 obstacles along the way and running through mud. I'm nervous, but looking forward to it!
Please sponsor me to help raise money towards improving the experience of children suffering burns, injuries and other surgeries - it would really make a difference to what they go through. Thank you for visiting my page, and feel free to share it with anyone else you think might be interested.
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