A dad from Bourne, Lincolnshire, took on the London Marathon to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust, the charity that supported him when his daughter underwent spinal surgery.
Steve Knight took to the capital’s streets on Sunday 2 October raising over £4,126 to thank the charity for keeping him close to his daughter, Hannah, when she underwent surgery to correct her curved spine.
When she was 11 years old Hannah started complaining of back pain and Steve and his wife Lucy noticed that one of Hannah’s shoulder blades was also sticking out more than the other. Hannah was referred to see a specialist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where she was diagnosed with scoliosis, but the family were told it would need to be monitored. Two years later however Hannah’s condition had deteriorated, and her curved spine was now affecting her lung function. The curve was compressing one of her lungs while pulling on the other making it hard for her to breathe.
The decision was made for Hannah to undergo a lengthy surgery to fix brackets to the individual vertebrae, which were then attached to metal rods to straighten and hold her spine in place. Being 90 minutes away from their home Steve and his wife, Lucy, faced long car journeys to be by Hannah’s side. This was when they were supported by The Sick Children’s Trust and its ‘Home from Home’ Acorn House which gave them a free place to stay just minutes away from Hannah’s hospital bedside. Steve said:
“Hannah was in surgery for a long time, but the doctors only got three quarters of the way through the procedure before they had to stop because Hannah’s heart and lungs couldn’t cope with the extended surgery. We expected her to be on the paediatric intensive care unit for a couple of days, but we were actually at Addenbrooke’s Hospital for 12 days in total while we waited for Hannah’s second surgery and during her recovery.
“Acorn House was amazing and provided everything we needed during what was a really worrying time for us. We had a comfortable place where we could rest, cook proper meals and generally look after ourselves while always being close to Hannah’s side. Lucy and I split our time between our home and Acorn House so we could look after our son, Jared, while also being there for Hannah.
“Acorn House was exactly what it says on the door, it was our ‘Home from Home’ supporting us with everything we needed while Hannah was in hospital. Since her recovery Hannah has been doing brilliantly, she is back dancing and doing all things she enjoys. I started running a few years ago when Hannah and Jared wanted to do a 3K fun run. I’ve done a marathon before but I’ve always wanted to do the London Marathon. The Sick Children’s Trust means so much to us, so being able to take part while giving back to a charity which had such a big impact on our lives makes it even more special.”
The Sick Children’s Trust does not charge families to stay in any of its ten ‘Homes from Home’ and this year the charity is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Since 1982 it has supported over 73,000 families, like Steve’s, with a place to stay close to their seriously ill child’s hospital bedside. Community Fundraising Manager, Elisa Coppello-Dowd, said:
“We’re so pleased we could support and Steve and Lucy to keep them close to Hannah’s side and its wonderful that she has been doing so well following her recovery.
“We can’t thank Steve enough for taking on the London Marathon to support us. While it is completely free for a family to stay in our ‘Homes from Home’, it does cost the charity £40 to support a family for one night. That is why the generosity of our supporters and the efforts of fundraisers like Steve are so vital in making sure we can continue to be there supporting more families.
More information about Steve’s fundraising can be found on his Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/steveknight2022