A dad from Lincoln is thanking The Sick Children’s Trust, the charity that provides a welcoming ‘Home from Home’ where families with a sick child in hospital can stay, for its support after his new-born son fell seriously ill at just three days old.
After being resuscitated by medical staff at Lincoln County Hospital, Damon Branson’s son, Quinn, was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, some 60 miles away from home, for specialist care.
Born via emergency caesarean section on 1 February 2019, both mum Lisa and baby Quinn stayed in hospital for two days before being allowed to return home. However, with the first-time parents becoming increasingly concerned about Quinn’s struggles with feeding, Damon and Lisa decided to take their new-born to Lincoln’s Accident and Emergency Department, where his condition rapidly deteriorated. Damon said:
“Basically, all hell broke loose. Quinn crashed and was quickly surrounded by medical staff, who were trying to resuscitate him. It was terrifying for us. They managed to stabilise him, but they didn’t know why this had happened. They couldn’t work out what was wrong with him.”
“It was not long before a specialist team from Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham arrived, who were brilliant. They scanned his brain and did all sorts of tests on him, trying to get to the bottom of it. They told us that he needed to be sent to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, being blue-lighted directly to their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), with us following as quickly as we could.”
“Quinn was in NICU for around four days before eventually being well enough to move onto the High Dependency Unit, where he stayed for another five days. During this time they did everything they could feed him up, getting his milk via a feeding tube through his nose. Thankfully, he improved so much that he was eventually moved onto the regular ward, where we could be more involved in his care. He had so much treatment, but they eventually got him right and was discharged after three weeks. We were so relieved, and incredibly happy.”
Throughout Quinn’s time in Sheffield, Damon and Lisa were supported by Treetop House and Magnolia House, two ‘Homes from Home’ run by The Sick Children’s Trust which provide families with a place to stay on the hospital site close to their seriously ill child’s hospital bedside.
“If it wasn’t for The Sick Children’s Trust it would have been a disaster for us, being so far away from home and faced with the prospect of expensive hotels. As well as giving us the chance to get the rest we both needed and a quiet place to talk through everything that was happening, it proved vital for me to keep my business up and running. I’d often work on the bed with my laptop and phone when I could, just to keep things ticking over. I don’t know how we would have got by without their incredible support.”
“Quinn’s condition remains something of a mystery, but the specialists at Sheffield said the most likely diagnosis was Transient Hyperinsulinism, which basically meant that because he wasn’t feeding his body went into shock after producing too much insulin. Although it is hard not knowing for certain, we are just thrilled he’s okay. Quinn is now four years old and doing brilliantly, being a fantastic big brother to Arlo, who is two. We feel very lucky because we know things could have been different.”
To thank charity for its support, Damon will be lacing up his running shoes and taking on the London Marathon on 23 April to raise vital funds. Damon said:
“With two young children and running my own business, it has been hard to find the time to train, but I’ve done as much as I can to get ready for this and I’m so pleased to be giving something back to The Sick Children’s Trust. I feel it is so important because what they did for us was priceless. I really hope I can raise a decent amount of money to give back to this wonderful charity.”
Damon joins 15 other runners who will be running the London Marathon to support The Sick Children’s Trust’s and its ten ‘Homes from Home’, which support families from across the country while their children are seriously ill in hospital. Community Fundraising Manager, Elisa Cappello-Dowd, said:
“We’re so pleased we could support Damon and Lisa at our ‘Homes from Home’ throughout Quinn’s time at Sheffield, so far away from their own home and in such scary circumstances. It is wonderful to know that Quinn is doing so well, and we are thrilled that Damon is raising money for us.
“We do not charge families to stay in any of our ‘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. As a charity we rely on the generosity of our supporters and fundraisers, like Damon, 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 challenge to support us.”
More information about Damon’s fundraising can be found on his donation page here: https://2023tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/damon-branson