Sheffield families take on Theo's Obstacle 5K to support the hospital that saved their children
Just three months ago, Ayla Taylor received the worst news that any mum can.
She'd taken her six-year-old son Tyler to see his GP in Sheffield after he began suffering headaches that were getting progressively worse.
A CT scan soon revealed a brain tumour and, within an hour, Tyler was rushed by ambulance to the dedicated neurosciences ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Ayla recalls: “Straightaway the team put us at ease. You know everyone cares just as much as you - you’re treated like a priority from the very first moment. They really do go above and beyond in every way.”
Two days later, Tyler underwent a successful operation to remove the build-up of fluid which was causing his headaches. Further tests revealed the tumour to be slow growing, so it will be carefully monitored as clinicians determine the safest possible time for it to be removed.
Ayla continues: “Tyler’s recovered really well. He was told every step of the way what was happening in language he could understand. That really impressed me and he’s since been able to go back to school and explain to his class exactly what happened.”
Tyler and his family are now joining the thousands of other families all across the city dedicating their support to this life-saving facility, by taking part in Theo’s Obstacle 5K this weekend.
Theo’s Obstacle 5K is the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity's biggest, bounciest, muddiest event, and will be held at its new location of location of Hesley Wood Scout Camp this Saturday. Featuring ten obstacles – from inflatables and water, to foam and mud – the course is ideal for walkers, joggers, and runners of all abilities.
Ayla added “We knew we had to do whatever we could to help the hospital. The kids keep asking ‘is it tomorrow?’ I’m sure Tyler will find it a challenge, but he’ll complete it. It’s going to be a lot of fun for us all."
Another Sheffield family who will be braving the fundraising fun this weekend are the parents of Eva Kent-Ellis. It was during a reassurance scan at 34 weeks that expectant first-time parents, Lucy and Matt, were told their growing baby girl had a hole in her diaphragm. This meant that her stomach and bowels had moved up into her chest, her lungs hadn't developed fully, and her heart was in the wrong position.
Lucy says: "It was devastating, we were told that they may be able to repair it, but there could be no guarantees. But our desolation gradually changed to hope. From the day we found out, everyone at Sheffield Children's Hospital was positive and professional.
"Almost every day for the next two weeks we were at appointments as they worked to prepare us for what to come - they were just incredible."
In March this year, the pair’s daughter, Eva, was brought into the world. Three days after her birth, Eva had a four-hour operation at the children's hospital to patch the diaphragmatic hernia and re-position her displaced organs.
Lucy says: “She gave us a big scare, we were so anxious, but the hospital staff were always there. They were not just doctors or nurses, but also counsellors and friends. We both can't thank them enough.
“Eva spent the next three weeks in hospital before heading home for the first time. Thanks to the care she received, Eva is now thriving and can look forward to all the little things we used to take for granted.”
To express their gratitude, Lucy and Matt decided to take on Theo's Obstacle 5K challenge, and have raised almost £600 so far.
"We just wanted to give something back and raise as much money as we could,” says Lucy.
“The staff didn't just help Eva, they helped all our family. Without them, I don't know where we'd be today.
"I keep seeing the obstacles come up on Facebook and think 'oh no,' but we are looking forward to the run and are glad we can give just a little back to those who gave us everything."
Theo’s Obstacle 5K events manager, Cheryl Davidson, said: “It’s the biggest event we have ever done at The Children’s Hospital Charity, and we’ve never attempted anything on this scale before. We held our first ever obstacle event at Rother Valley last year and, while it was a steep learning curve for everyone, it was so worthwhile to meet so many people who cared so passionately about our hospital.
“Choosing Hesley Wood as our venue allows us to make use of lots of its natural features. There will be mud, water, foam and a few surprising obstacles along the way. All the money raised will go to build a new Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.”
Visit tchc.org.uk to register.