A dad from Felixstowe, Suffolk, is taking on a skydive to raise money to support The Sick Children’s Trust, the charity that supported him when his son was seriously ill in hospital.
Charlton Damant will be taking to the skies on Sunday 4 June before jumping from the plane at 15,000ft. He’ll be raising vital funds for The Sick Children’s Trust to thank the charity for supporting him and his wife, Sam, with a place to stay while their son, Reuben, was in hospital.
In November 2022, three-year-old Reuben became continuously ill while running a high temperature. When he developed a severe stomach ache, Charlton and Sam became concerned and called 111. While talking to the operator Reuben began screaming in pain so they rushed him to A&E at Ipswich Hospital.
While they were waiting to see a doctor Reuben also started hallucinating, saying things that didn’t make sense and talking to his older sister, Isla, who at the time wasn’t with them. He was admitted to the ward and given oxygen and IV antibiotics for three days. An x-ray of his lungs revealed fluid as well as necrotising pneumonia, which was killing some of the tissue of his right lung. It was suspected that Reuben had invasive Strep-A and he required treatment at a specialist children’s hospital.
Reuben was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, around 90 minutes from Felixstowe, where he was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). A litre of fluid was removed from his lung whilst undergoing five hours of surgery which removed half of the top lobe of his right lung where the tissue had died. He then had another 800ml of fluid removed via a chest drain during his recovery.
During Reuben’s surgery his parents were told they had a free place to stay at Acorn House, a ‘Home from Home’ run by The Sick Children’s Trust. Located on the hospital site, Acorn House supported Charlton and Sam throughout Reuben’s time on ICU making sure they were always by his side. Now to thank the charity for its support Charlton is raising funds through the charity’s skydive weekend on the 3 and 4 June. Charlton said:
“There’s no dressing it up, it was awful seeing Reuben that poorly. The more the doctors explained his symptoms the more we realised it was Strep-A, especially with all the news stories about it. It was a really worrying time but it’s amazing how well Reuben is doing now after going through so much at his young age.
“When your child is seriously ill, they are the only thing you want to think about. However, there are the extra stresses of how you are going to stay close to them, and the financial implications of travelling to and from the hospital. Having those stresses taken way makes such a difference. I don’t know what we would have done without The Sick Children’s Trust.
“We always planned to raise money and give back to this amazing charity to thank them for supporting us through this difficult time. I’ve never done a skydive before but I’ve always wanted to do one so it’s a great opportunity to give it a go while raising money for The Sick Children’s Trust.”
The Sick Children’s Trust does not charge families to stay in any of its ‘Homes from Home’ however it does cost the charity £40 to support a family for one night. As families across the country face the cost-of-living crisis, the charity provide those with a sick child in hospital with a free, welcoming place to stay, giving them one less thing to worry about. Community Fundraising Manager, Elisa Cappello Dowd, said:
“We’re so pleased we could support Charlton and Sam so they could stay close to Reuben’s side during his surgery and recovery. It’s wonderful to hear he is doing better now and we can’t thank Charlton enough for taking part in our skydive weekend and supporting our ‘Homes from Home’ so we can keep more families together.
“Our ‘Homes from Home’ are much more than bricks and mortar. Our friendly, caring staff provide vital support to families when they need it most. As a charity we rely on the generosity of our supporters and fundraisers, like Charlton, to make sure we can continue supporting families while their children are seriously ill in hospital.”
More information about Charlton’s fundraising can be found on his Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/charlton-damant