LESLEY Ford has a special ‘training buddy’ as she prepares to run for The Children’s Hospital Charity in Sheffield - her one-year-old daughter Emma who recovered from potentially fatal chicken pox soon after she was born.
Lesley, aged 36, of Dore, is taking part in the Sheffield Half Marathon in May to say ‘thank you’ to the doctors and nurses.
It’s a way of giving something back to the hospital that helped Emma in the first few weeks of her life. “She’s been my training buddy on wheels! I train while pushing her along in her buggy and she’s wonderful company!”
Emma contracted chicken pox, a potentially fatal illness for new born babies, at just two-weeks-old.
“When you bring a healthy new born home, as a family you are so happy and thankful,” said Lesley, married to James. “It quickly turned into a bit of a nightmare when she suddenly had to be rushed back into hospital.
“My younger son had chicken pox when Emma was born and she caught it. Newborns are often immune to the virus so it was a real shock.”
Emma risked becoming dangerously ill so she was given antiviral drugs through a drip and monitored closely for five days.
“It was a very hard time for me to be away from my other two young children, especially when they were feeling poorly too and so shortly after giving birth, but the hospital staff were absolutely amazing.
“It was frightening because we were told that Emma could run the risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia or a swelling on the brain, but thankfully the doctors caught it in enough time.”
When Emma turned one, Lesley decided to take up running to raise funds for the hospital, something which she had not done since having three children. She ran the Sheffield Half Marathon last year and won the fifth place trophy in the event’s individual fundraiser category, raising £2,027 for the charity.
Lesley said: “Emma was extremely lucky and only had a very short stay in hospital, but I know that other children and their families have to stay in hospital for much longer.
“Having an unwell child is just one of the worst things – it’s just heart breaking.”
The Children’s Hospital Charity’s ‘Run with Us’ campaign was launched last year with support from Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis. Proceeds go to the ‘Make it Better’ appeal towards the £40m redevelopment of the hospital. Last year hundreds of runners raised over £100,000.