The mother of a little girl who survived meningitis, sepsis and a bleed on the brain is lacing up her trainers to take on the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust.
Becks Jones, 33 from Halesworth, will be running the iconic race on Sunday 28 April to thank The Sick Children’s Trust for supporting her family in free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation just minutes from her daughter’s hospital bedside.
In March 2018, eight month old Beth was rushed from James Paget University Hospital to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge after becoming life-threateningly ill with meningitis and sepsis. In the days leading up to her emergency admission to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Beth, who has achondroplasia, a bone growth disorder that causes dwarfism, had been struggling with a cold and temperature. Her parents, Becks and Steve, were concerned and took her to A&E where she was sent home with a suspected virus. However, within hours Beth’s condition deteriorated and her mother raced her back to the hospital. Four hours later, Becks spotted a purple mark on her daughter’s leg and as the meningitis, then sepsis, began to take over Beth’s body, arrangements were made for her to be transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital. When they got to Cambridge, Becks and Steve were told about Acorn House, free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation run by The Sick Children’s Trust, where they were supported for the duration of Beth’s stay. Local business owner Becks, who is aiming to raise £7,000 for the charity, said:
“As the medical team tried to do everything they could to stabilise Beth at our local hospital the sepsis took hold. It was at this point we were told it was likely we would lose our baby girl. It was the hardest day of my life. I felt so helpless watching my child fight for her life unable to do anything to help.
“Three hours after we arrived at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the nurse in charge told us about Acorn House, run by The Sick Children’s Trust. It wasn’t just a ‘Home from Home’ to us, it was also a safe haven. It hadn’t even crossed my mind where we would stay. As we reached the front door we were greeted by friendly staff and saw families playing games and cooking. Even though it was hard when Beth was so unwell, Steve and I were able to kiss her goodnight and retreat to Acorn House. We had seven hours sleep, waking only to check on Beth’s condition using the phone linked directly to Beth’s ward. We then returned to our daughter’s bedside early the next morning. This became our daily routine for the next four weeks.
“Acorn House was a godsend. It became a home to me and Steve, alongside Beth’s older brother, Ollie, and my mum Beverley. I honestly felt that we wouldn’t have got through the experience without the sanctuary of Acorn house.”
Acorn House is one of ten ‘Homes from Home’ run by The Sick Children’s Trust, supporting families with seriously ill children in hospitals across the country. £30 supports a family for one night in ‘Home from Home’ accommodation and the charity relies entirely on voluntary donations to meet these cost. Becks continued:
“Beth fought meningitis with every ounce of strength she had and it’s her strength that has inspired me to take on the London Marathon. Acorn House gave us the hope and normality to get us through the toughest period of our lives and this is my way of giving back.
“I’ve gone from not running at all to recently completing over eight miles with my sister, Holly, in the freezing cold rain. Like me, Holly hasn’t done much running either and having her support really makes a huge difference to my training – which is hard work! I’m determined to complete the London Marathon to thank everyone who has supported our family on this journey.”
Becks will join 12 other runners as part of #TeamSCT to raise vital funds to support families with seriously ill children in hospital. Sam Lloyd, Senior Events Fundraising Officer at The Sick Children’s Trust, said:
“Becks has already raised an incredible £4,500 for The Sick Children’s Trust as part of her marathon mission. We can see how determined she is through her fundraising and training and know she’ll manage to get round the course.
“As a charity, we rely entirely on voluntary donations to run our ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country, so we can’t thank Becks, her friends and family enough for all their generous support, which will help support families in our ‘Homes from Home’ in the future. We look forward to cheering her around the course on 28 April!”