Simon and Grace Robson, along with five of their friends and family, have formed Team Elodie, to complete the Great North Run to raise £2,500 for the charity that gave them a place to stay when their daughter had two heart surgeries.
During their 20 week scan, Elodie was diagnosed with a heart defect which had caused one of the main vessels to develop the wrong way round. At six months old Elodie’s parents grew concerned as she began to regularly choke on food. She was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle where several scans confirmed Elodie had also developed a vascular ring, where the vessel had grown around the trachea and oesophagus causing them to constrict. Elodie needed surgery at the Freeman Hospital to correct the problem and while the first was temporarily successful by moving the vessel to the correct place, just under six months later it shifted back causing the same previous problems. Her second surgery was to completely disconnect and reroute the vessel away from her trachea.
After her operation Elodie unexpectedly had extreme breathing difficulties due to the abnormal location of her heart vessels she had developed a severe airway disorder called trachobronchomalcia. This occurs when the walls of the airway are weak and can cause it to become narrow or collapse, requiring Elodie to be on life support for ten days. She was then transferred back to the RVI to have a tracheostomy fitted, which saved her life. Throughout all of her treatment her parents could always be by her side as they were supported by two of The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Homes from Home’ Scott and Crawford Houses, located just minutes from both the Freeman and RVI. Simon said:
“It was such a massive relief for us to be able to stay so close to Elodie. It would have been unbearable having to travel to and from the hospital as we wouldn’t have been able to afford a hotel for the length of time she was recovering. The Sick Children’s Trust took all that extra worry away.
“We’re so grateful to the charity and wanted to do something to thank them for all of the support. After Grace and I started running in lockdown we thought doing the Great North Run would be a great way to raise money. We mentioned that we were taking part to a few friends and they got on board straight away.
“We’re doing it for Elodie as well who is doing so much better now and next year her windpipe will hopefully have recovered and strengthened enough that she can have the tracheostomy removed.”
This year, Crawford House is celebrating 25 years of keeping families together by their child’s hospital bedside. Opened in 1996, The Sick Children’s Trust ‘Home from Home’ has supported over 12,000 families, like Simon and Grace, giving them a place to stay and one less thing to worry about when their child is in hospital. It costs the charity £30 to support a family for one night, and over the years it is thanks to supporters like Team Elodie, who take on fundraising challenges like the Great North Run, that Crawford House has become a ‘Home from Home’ to thousands of families. Andrew Leadbitter, Crawford House Manger, said:
“The incredible support from Simon, Grace and the rest of team Elodie will make such a massive difference to the families they will help keep together with their seriously ill children while they are in hospital.
“As a charity we rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to keep our ‘Homes from Home’ supporting families and we will be cheering on team Elodie and all of our Great North Runners during the event.”
More information about team Elodie and their fundraising cam be found on their Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/teamelodie