Dad’s 100 mile running challenge to support children’s charity

Tim Millbank is running 100 miles in September to thank us for supporting him at Acorn House when his son, Elliot, was seriously ill with MRSA

A Dad from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, is taking on a challenge to run 100 miles throughout September to raise vital funds to support The Sick Children’s Trust.

Tim Millbank will be tackling the distance by taking part in several organised events including the Great North Run, Wigan 10K and Warrington Running Festival while covering the remaining distance around his local area.

He is raising money for The Sick Children’s Trust charity, which supported him and his wife, Rachel, when their son was seriously ill in hospital. While holidaying in Cromer, their 10-week-old son, Elliot, became poorly during the day before going grey and unresponsive overnight. The couple rushed him to the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital where he was admitted and treated for pneumonia.

Following 11 days of treatment that had resulted in little improvement, further tests revealed that Elliot was suffering from a rare form of MRSA and sepsis. Needing specialist treatment, he was given strong antibiotics, antiviral medication and placed in a morphine induced coma before being transferred by The Children’s Acute Transport Service (CATS) to the intensive care unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

Tim and Rachel were unable to stay with Elliot on the intensive care unit and being over 190 miles away from their Lancashire home, a hotel seemed to be their only option. However, The Sick Children’s Trust and its Acorn House ‘Home from Home’ came to their aid, providing them with a place to stay completely free of charge, ensuring they could stay by Elliot’s side for the 12 days he received treatment. Determined to thank the charity for supporting his family during their time of need, Tim is taking on this epic challenge to raise funds to ensure future families can be helped in the same way. Tim said:

“It was incredibly scary to see Elliot that poorly and for the medical staff to be so concerned about his health. Seeing him intubated and in a coma was really difficult, especially as new parents. He was really struggling to fight off the MRSA and sepsis, and his body needed a break to recover.

“When we arrived in Cambridge we had absolutely no idea what we were going to do or how we were going to stay with Elliot. Everything was up in the air and being so far away from home was making everything so much worse. The Sick Children’s Trust and Acorn House were an absolute godsend. The ‘Home from Home’ gave us a place to stay just minutes from the hospital and a base to look after ourselves.

“Our own parents were able to visit us at Acorn House and we also got a lot of support from the other families staying at the ‘Home from Home’ who going through a similar situation to us. That support network really helped us through what was such a difficult time.

“Elliot is four now and doing brilliantly. He has no long-term effects from his ordeal and is looking forward to starting school soon. After getting into running during the lockdowns I really wanted to challenge myself and do something to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust to thank the charity for supporting us. I’m really looking forward to the Great North Run, especially seeing Rachel and Elliot at the finish line.”

The Sick Children’s Trust does not charge families to stay in any of its ten ‘Homes from Home’, however it does cost the charity £40 a night to support a family, and that is only rising with the cost-of-living crisis. Community Fundraising Officer, Connor Haley, said:

“We’re so pleased we could support Tim and Rachel so they could always be close to Elliot’s side during his time at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Being so far away from home they faced many additional stresses and worries so we’re glad that Acorn House made this difficult time that little bit easier. It’s fantastic to know Elliot is doing so well now.

“As a charity we rely on the generosity of our supporters and fundraisers, like Tim, to make sure we can continue supporting families while their children are seriously ill in hospital. We cannot thank him enough for taking on this epic challenge to support our ‘Homes from Home.”

More information about Tim’s fundraising can be found on his Just Giving page

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