Family’s charity challenge in support of son

The Hollingsworth family have been taking part in our Long Walk Home challenge covering 50 miles throughout June to support Acorn House and our 'Homes from Home'.

A family from Felixstowe, Suffolk, are taking on a 50-mile walking challenge in support of The Sick Children’s Trust, the charity that supported them while their son was ill in hospital.

Emma, Ashley, Archie and twins Parker and George Hollingsworth are taking on the Long Walk Home challenge to raise vitals funds for the charity that provided the family with a ‘Home from Home’ when George underwent surgery at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge when he was 21 months old.

During the twins’ 20-week scan George was diagnosed with Congenital Pulmonary Airway Malformation (CPAM), which causes abnormal areas of tissue to grow on the lungs. As a result, George is susceptible to breathing problems, suffering from bronchiolitis six times before his second birthday, being just four weeks old at the time of the first flare-up.

On each occasion George required a week-long stay at his local hospital in Ipswich, receiving support from an oxygen machine. To prevent further bouts of bronchiolitis, doctors scheduled a procedure to remove the excess lung tissue, which would take place in Cambridge under the care of the specialists at Addenbrooke’s. Due to it becoming attached to his chest wall, the lung and the tissue mass needed to be pried away before the excess tissue could be removed.

Following a four-hour surgery, George spent the next three days recovering on the high dependency unit before being able to return home. Throughout his time at Addenbrooke’s Emma and Ashley were able to stay close to George’s side thanks to Acorn House, a ‘Home from Home’ run by The Sick Children’s Trust which is located just minutes away from the hospital ward. To thank the charity for its support, the family are now taking on a 50-mile challenge throughout the month of June to raise crucial funds. Emma said:

“George’s surgery had felt a long time coming, something we’d dreaded for so long. It was one of the scariest moments of our lives, but we knew how important it was and how much it would change his life.

“While we were waiting for George to go down for his surgery two lovely ladies from The Sick Children’s Trust came and told us we could stay at Acorn House throughout his recovery, completely free of charge. It meant the world to us, staying so close to George’s bedside meant we could get back to him quickly should he need us. Acorn House gave us a place where we could process everything in private and be able to support each other through an extremely difficult and emotional time.

“George recovered really well and after three days we were able to bring him home. We couldn’t believe how quickly he bounced back. Apart from a chest infection which was treatable by antibiotics he hasn’t needed another hospital stay since. He’s two and half years old now and after being discharged from Addenbrooke’s and Ipswich Hospitals he should lead a completely normal life.

“Whilst we are so lucky that George didn’t have to stay in hospital for too long, we know this isn’t the case for so many other children and their families and we understand their pain. The Sick Children’s Trust made a traumatic experience so much easier, and we just want to do anything we can to help them to support other families like ours.”

More information about the groups fundraising can be found on Emma’s Just Giving page

The Long Walk Home is part of the charity’s Home to Home challenge series with supporters taking on cycles, swims, runs, walks and toddles across the country to support The Sick Children’s Trust and it’s ten ‘Homes from Home’.

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