An eight-year-old girl from Oundle, near Peterborough, is taking on the three peaks challenge to raise money to support The Sick Children’s Trust.
Imogen Haslam will be joined by her dad, Jonathan, in climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon, the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales respectively, between the 28 – 31 March. Imogen has already raised over £1,200 but she wants to raise as much as possible for the charity as a thank you for supporting parents Faith and Jonathan when her little brother, John, was seriously ill in hospital.
John was born eight weeks premature in 2018 at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, weighing 5lbs 5oz, and he was suffering from respiratory distress syndrome. This is when the lungs have not fully developed and cannot provide enough oxygen. John needed to be ventilated to help him breathe and later underwent a chest drain.
He needed specialist treatment during his recovery and the family were transferred to The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, an hour away from their home. As John was admitted, Faith looked for hotel rooms near to the hospital so they could stay close by. It was around this time that a nurse told them they already had a place to stay, free of charge, at The Sick Children’s Trust’s Chestnut House, located just below the children’s ward. For the week that John was in Cambridge, Faith and Jonathan stayed at the charity’s ‘Home from Home’ just minutes from his bedside. Faith said:
“We had sadly lost our other son, Harry, the year before due to a viral infection in his heart so we were incredibly anxious when John was in hospital. We were reliving that traumatic experience again. We couldn’t face leaving his side in case the worst should happen and we couldn’t get back to him.
“That worry was completely taken away when we were told about The Sick Children’s Trust and how close our room was at Chestnut House. We were overwhelmed with the support we received. The charity took all those extra stresses away so we could just focus on John. Imogen also came and stayed with us for a few days so we could be together as a family and Chestnut House provided with everything we needed.
“Imogen has always loved the outdoors. She has already climbed Mount Snowdon when she was six and loved it. She knows this will be a tough challenge it isn’t fazing her one bit. She is determined to reach the top of all the mountains, and I couldn’t be prouder of her.”
Imogen, who will be accompanied by her dad throughout the challenge, said:
“I wanted to fundraise for The Sick Children’s Trust because of the support they gave to my mum and dad while my little brother John was in hospital. It was such a great help to us all. I’m a bit nervous for the challenge but mostly excited. I have climbed Mount Snowdon before so I bet I can do it!”
This year The Sick Children’s Trust is celebrating 40 years of keeping families, like John’s, together with their seriously ill children in hospital. Since 1982 the charity has supported over 73,000 families from across the country. Community Fundraising Officer, Charlotte Coldrey, said:
“This is an amazing challenge that Imogen is taking on and it’s even more impressive that she is doing it at eight years of age. We’re so pleased we could support her and her parents while John was in hospital and it’s wonderful to hear how well he has been getting on.
“While we do not charge families to stay in any of our ‘Homes from Home’ it does cost the charity £40 to support a family for one night. As part of our 40th anniversary celebrations we’ve launched an appeal to raise £237,000 which will support a family in every one of our 148 rooms for 40 nights.”
For more information and to donate to Imogen’s challenge visit her Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/imogenhaslam