I am getting to that stage of life where many of my friends have started to develop the older statesmen look along with the Silver Fox, George Clooney grey hair. This is something I have yet to achieve and feel that I am missing out and to this end I need to scare myself a bit to kick start the process.
The opportunity has been given to me to Join the British Army Parachute Regiment Display Team, the Red Devils, to take part in a Tandem Parachute Jump from 13500 feet (which is about 2.50 miles) in May this year over Salisbury Plain, which was an offer I could not refuse. So, in May this year along with my son Lewis we will be taking the leap!
I would like to use this opportunity to do some good, and as such I will be raising money for The Sick Children’s Trust Charity, which is an organisation that supports both Children and Families of sick Children whilst they are receiving and recovering from treatment.
The charity has been close to our families hearts since 2015 when my nephew William was rushed into Addenbrooke’s Intensive Care following a week at Ipswich Hospital. He had been intubated and transferred to Addenbrooke’s by the CATS Ambulance Service specialising in the transportation and care of seriously ill children on ventilation equipment. On arrival at Addenbrooke’s Will was rushed straight into intensive care.
Will remained on and off a ventilator for the next three weeks while his team of consultants tried to determine the reason for his illness. Will had been a perfectly healthy ten-year-old boy prior to this until one Saturday morning his parents were woken by an awful sound coming from his bedroom, what they were about to see would stay with them forever. Will had a full clonic tonic seizure lasting over thirty minutes leaving Will unconscious until the ambulance crew arrived. He was taken to Ipswich Hospital, checked over and discharged the same day as anyone can have one seizure without having any further ones. Sadly this was not the case for Will as the next day he had another one and was once again taken to Ipswich to be checked, this time he was kept in for observation, by the Thursday of this week he had so many seizures over night that he was not really regaining consciousness in between. At this stage having no children’s intensive care unit it was decided that he should be intubated and transferred to Addenbrooke’s PICU(Paediatric Intensive Care Unit).
On arrival at Addenbrooke’s PICU Wills ‘ parents were very kindly offered a lifeline by The Sick Children’s Trust offering a room to stay in at Acorn House ‘Home from Home’ providing a place to stay free of charge while Will was in PICU. Acorn House is a two minute walk from the hospital allowing his Mum to spend as much time as possible by his bedside. Over the following three weeks this was invaluable allowing her to shower, eat and sleep a little knowing that the direct phone line to the room from PICU meant she could be contacted at any time if she needed to rush back. All the home from home properties the Trust run provide cooking and washing facilities as well as accommodation , having these facilities as well as some privacy to deal with the stress of having a seriously ill child were an absolute godsend. Many of the parents who need to use these facilities are there for many weeks or months at a time.
We will all be eternally grateful for the help and support extended to our family by The Sick Children’s Trust during this extremely difficult time.
Will, thanks to his treatment at Addenbrooke’s was able to relearn his speech and language skills, how to eat and drink and all social skills. He was left with some complex memory issues and some medication resistant seizures which have ruined his dreams of aiming to be the next A P McCoy! However now he has a very good quality of life, still enjoying his horses and cricket. He is very lucky to be physically very fit and healthy with a great sense of humour, personality, loyal, hardworking and kind, we got our Will back!
Wills’ medical journey has continued to2020 and 2021 with his care being handed over to Great Ormand Street Hospital for video telemetry studies and latterly surgical EEG to see if he would be suitable for further brain surgery to allow him to be seizure free. Sadly in April 2022 he was finally told that due to the complexity of the damage caused by the encephalitis it would be too risky to remove the part of his brain the seizures start from with his speech, language skills and right hand motor functions at risk. Although this was a bitter pill to swallow at the time thinking of all the things he had hoped to achieve if the surgery had been possible and successful, we will all be eternally grateful for the great quality of life he is able to enjoy now with new hopes and dreams to follow.
The Sick Children’s Trust were also kind enough to help us with accommodation prior to the brain surgery in December 2021 for the surgical EEG, which was once again so gratefully received at such a stressful time. We know from personal experience how much the many ‘Home form Home ‘ houses The Sick Children’s Trust have given people is a life line at the most difficult time in their lives.
Although it has taken some time on our journey, we as a family would really like to raise as much money as we possibly can for this charity as it means so much to us all, any contribution you are able to make to the just giving page would be most gratefully received.