Nick Blackwell from Colchester, Essex will be taking on the challenging BUPA London 10,000 this May in aid of The Sick Children’s Trust, a charity that supported his family when his daughter, Lilly, was seriously ill in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Lilly became very poorly at just one year old and was in and out of hospital with flu like symptoms. She had very little energy, lost her appetite and no longer slept through the night. In late August 2013 Lilly’s condition began to deteriorate and she took a turn for the worse when she was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Lilly was admitted to the Oncology ward with suspected Leukaemia and after two weeks of testing, parents Nick and Clare were relieved to learn that Lilly didn’t have Leukaemia. However, her condition was still critical and she was admitted into intensive care where she suffered from internal bleeding resulting in difficulties breathing. Nick and Clare were then told the devastating news that Lily only had a slim chance of survival.
After several further tests, Lilly was finally diagnosed with Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, a condition frequently known as HLH that results in the immune system being overstimulated and potentially damaging to other tissues and organs in the body. She spent a few weeks In the Oncology ward and in October was finally able to go home, with appointments scheduled for chemotherapy.
While Lilly was in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, first time parents, Nick and Clare were able to stay close by in Acorn House, a ‘Home from Home’ provided by The Sick Children’s Trust.
Nick, 31, says “Acorn House was a life saver for Clare and I; it enabled us to be by Lilly’s side throughout her tests and treatment and saved us from commuting from our home every day which is an hour and a half drive away. We were terrified when Lilly was taken ill, she was on a life support machine for over a week and during this time especially, we couldn’t imagine being anywhere else but by her side.
“Lilly’s condition was unstable and we never knew what was going to happen next, being able to stay in free accommodation just minutes away was invaluable. The nurses and doctors at the hospital were incredible and we are so thankful to them for saving our little girl’s life. The support we received from Joy and her team at Acorn House was fantastic too and I have chosen to fundraise for the charity to make sure that they can keep accommodating families when they need it most because honestly, I don’t know what we would have done without it.”
Nick and Clare stayed in Acorn House for six weeks while Lilly was in hospital and she has been undergoing chemo therapy ever since to treat her condition. She has recovered well and is now busy running round after her new little brother, Joseph, who was born just three weeks ago.
Nick will be running the famous 10k race with brother, Adam, sister, Louise and Louise’s partner, Scott on the 25th May. Together the team have already raised a fantastic £3,070.15.
Joy Worship, House Manager of Acorn House says “We are so pleased to hear that Lilly is doing well now and would like to congratulate Nick and Clare on the birth of their new baby boy, Joseph. It is wonderful that Nick and his family have decided to fundraise for The Sick Children’s Trust, we are so grateful.
“It costs us £28 to accommodate a family for one night in our ‘Homes from Home’ so the money that Nick is raising will help us to support many families in the future who have poorly children in hospital. We will be there on the day cheering Nick and the team on and can’t wait to see them cross the finish line.”
The Sick Children’s Trust provides free, high quality ‘Home from Home’ accommodation as well as emotional and practical support for families who have seriously ill children in hospital. The charity has nine houses across the UK where families can stay free of charge, just minutes from their child’s side.
To sponsor Nick, Adam, Louise and Scott please visit their just giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/10kRunForLilly