Rachel and Michael McGregor, from Sunderland, completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge to raise £935 for The Sick Children’s Trust.
The couple climbed Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in 10 hours and 20 minutes on 10 September to thank the charity for providing them with a free place to stay when their seven-week-old son Elijah was critically ill in hospital.
Elijah had been experiencing cold-like symptoms for a few days but they became increasingly concerned when he started to struggle with his breathing and developed a fever, taking him to see a doctor. Elijah was diagnosed with bronchiolitis, a more serious form of bronchitis, and they were advised to take him home and monitor him.
Elijah’s condition deteriorated in the days that followed and when his breathing became rapid and shallow, he was taken by ambulance to Sunderland Hospital. He was given oxygen to help with his breathing but wasn’t responding to the treatment, becoming exhausted trying to fight the infection. To give him the best chance of recovering, the decision was made to intubate Elijah and place him on a life support machine.
While he was in theatre for the procedure, arrangements were being made for him to be transferred to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where he could receive specialist care. Rachel and Michael travelled with him in the ambulance. When Elijah was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, his parents were told they had a place to stay free of charge at Crawford House, a ‘Home from Home’ run by The Sick Children’s Trust that is located on the hospital site. Rachel said:
“It was terrifying seeing our son covered in wires and tubes and he seemed so lifeless due to the muscle relaxants he had been given. It was horrible watching him struggle so much, not being able to do anything to help him.
“Crawford House was absolutely amazing, making everything that little bit easier. We were able to stay just minutes from Elijah’s side and didn’t have to worry about travelling to and from our home each day. We would have slept in the car just to be with him, but thanks to The Sick Children’s Trust we didn’t have to worry about any of that.
“Elijah spent four days on the ventilator, fighting the infection and clearing his lungs. As he started to breathe for himself again, he was eased off the machine and we were able to return Sunderland Hospital. We were back at home three days later and now he is doing brilliantly. He’s a fit and healthy five-year-old.
“We were both very nervous about taking on the Yorkshire Three Peak challenge but we done plenty of practice walks beforehand and completed the challenge in a really good time. We’re so thrilled we could so much money to support this brilliant charity.”
This year The Sick Children’s Trust is celebrating its 40th anniversary and since 1982 it has supported over 73,000 families, like Elijah’s, with a free place to stay close to their seriously ill child’s hospital bedside. Community Fundraising Manager, Elisa Coppello-Dowd, said:
“This is a fantastic challenge that Rachel and Michael are took on to support our ‘Homes from Home’ and the money they have raised will make such a big difference to the families we will be able to support in the future.
“As a charity we rely on the generosity of our supporters and fundraisers like Rachel and Michael to make sure we can continue to be there supporting more families. While we do not charge families to stay in any of our ten ‘Homes from Home’, it does cost the charity £40 to support a family for one night.”
More information about Rachel and Michael’s challenge can be found on their Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/RachMcG