THE dad of a baby who underwent emergency surgery just two days after he was born is taking on a series of sporting challenges to thank the hospital which saved his son’s life.
Parents Gavin Darke, aged 29, and Laura Malik, 26, barely had time to celebrate the arrival of little Ollie before he was rushed into an operating theatre with a potentially fatal medical problem.
The youngster was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital after suffering a ruptured bowel.
Medics worked to repair the damage, after which Ollie was diagnosed with Hirschprung disease - a rare condition which means he needed to have four operations before his first birthday.
Ollie, now two years old, still needs regular check-ups and medication, but has grown to be a healthy, happy boy, which his parents say is down to the hospital.
In fact, they were so appreciative for the care he received from city doctors and nurses that they gave him the middle name Theo, after the Children’s Hospital mascot.
And in a further show of support, Gavin has rallied a group of work colleagues together to take part in the Theo-lympics at Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield on Thursday, September 6.
Teams from different businesses will compete in fun events such as human table football, sumo relays and a space hopper final.
Gavin, from Worksop, said: “We owe the hospital everything. Ollie was an incredibly poorly little boy and although he still attends the hospital he has grown to be a smiley, happy toddler who is so full of life.
“We can never repay the doctors and nurses for what they did for us, but we do all we can to let them know how thankful we are.”
Laura said: “Fundraising for The Children’s Hospital Charity has become a way of life for us but we’re not marathon people. We’d never be able to go to the gym every day and train for big fitness challenges - it’s just not ‘us’.
“It can be difficult to keep thinking up fundraising ideas that are fun and a bit different.”
Tonya Kennedy, fundraiser at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “It’s so special that one of those businesses has such a strong connection with our hospital. The money we raise helps us to make our extraordinary hospital even better, to benefit even more families like Ollie’s.”
n To sign up to for Theo-lympics, visit www.tchc.org.uk/theo-lympics. Deadline for entries is Friday, August 10.