A grateful mum whose son required life-saving treatment after he was born will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon in April to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust.
Susan Lea, from St Neots, is aiming to raise £5,000 for the trust, which runs 10 ‘home from home’ facilities across the country, providing families who have a seriously ill child in hospital with free accommodation.
Susan’s son Jasper was born in August 2017 at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and it was clear immediately that he had some problems as he was floppy and unresponsive.
Susan, aged 40, had undergone an emergency caesarean after suffering a prolapsed umbilical cord during labour.
Jasper was diagnosed with severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a brain dysfunction caused by a reduction in the supply of oxygen to the brain and other organs. In a bid to save his life, Jasper was rushed to The Rosie Hospital, in Cambridge, where he underwent 72 hours of specialist cooling therapy on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in an attempt to reduce the level of brain damage.
For the six weeks that followed, Susan and her husband, Alex, were supported in free accommodation run by The Sick Children’s Trust.
Now, 18 months later, the mum-of-three feels ready to fundraise and thank the charity who supported her through what she describes as “the worst weeks of her life”.
Susan, who hopes to complete the London Marathon in four hours, said: “As Jasper left with Alex for Cambridge just hours after he’d been born, I had to deal with the horrible reality that I might not see my baby ever again.
“Fortunately, the next day a bed was found for me on the maternity ward in Cambridge so I could be reunited with my son and two days later - when I was discharged - I moved into Chestnut House with Alex.
“At this point, when he was just a few days old, we were told Jasper might not survive the weekend. His condition was so severe that we were advised not to leave the hospital in case we were not able to get back to him in time.
“Having a room in Chestnut House meant we could stay with Jasper, making all the difference during the worst days of our lives.”