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Ben’s Sahara trek to celebrate 25 years since life-saving operation at BCH

Press Release   •   Oct 25, 2012 12:07 BST

Celebrating a milestone 25 years since having open-heart surgery, Ben Plant from Coventry, will be trekking 94 km across the Sahara Desert this November. Ben is taking on the challenge to say thank you to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for saving his life.

Hoping to raise in excess of £3,000, Ben, who is now 25 years old and a marketing executive for Pertemps, will be embarking on the gruelling group trek on Saturday 3 November.

Ben was born in 1987 with a hole in his heart and two of his great arteries positioned the wrong way around. At 11 weeks old he underwent 12-hour open-heart surgery at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

The Sahara is the second largest desert in the world and one of the last great areas of wilderness. It covers an area larger than the entire United States and will prove to be one of the biggest challenges Ben, and the team, have ever encountered.

Ben, who cycled 450 miles across the UK last year with a friend to raise £1,670 for the hospital, said: “This has to be the most challenging sponsored event I have undertaken for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“As it approaches the 25th anniversary of my surgery, I'm extremely grateful for everyone that looked after me and gave me a second chance. The reason I am doing such challenges for BCH is to give back to the Trust who saved my life and also to let parents and patients know that even with heart conditions a fairly normal life can be lived.

“My own parents are very proud of my fund raising activities. They’re naturally apprehensive but so grateful that I am now able to participate in such demanding events."

Rhianna Cooper, from the fundraising team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “The Sahara trek will be a challenge for everyone taking part – especially Ben, who was born with complex heart problems. Thanks to the pioneering work carried out by our cardiac surgeons, Ben can join in the trek and help to raise much needed funds for the cardiac unit.”

Kent Thompson, managing director at Pertemps Industrial – who are sponsoring Ben £1,500 - said:  “Ben’s focus and determination to do the trek is an inspiration.  He is very motivated and is training either before or after work most days. We are proud to be able to support Ben in this way, and for such a good cause that is very personal to him.”

Ben added: “Training for the trek is hard, but exhilarating and I am really enjoying it.  As the trek gets nearer, I suspect nerves and adrenaline will kick in but I am driven by the desire to raise money for the hospital which saved my life.”

If you would like to sponsor Ben, please visit his JustGiving page at:

To support Birmingham Children’s Hospital as well find out more about future fundraising events and activities please visit:


Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust provides a comprehensive service to children, young people and their families.

We are one of the leading paediatric teaching centres in the country, with international research and development in areas such as:

Our facilities include:


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