On Sunday 28th June Chris Cowley from Wigan will be cycling 52 miles at the Great Manchester Cycle to say thank you to the hospital which saved his newborn son, Sam, and wife, Rebecca.

Sam was born on 3 June 2014 at Saint Mary's Hospital, Manchester.  Early in the pregnancy Becky was referred to Saint Mary's due to suspected problems with the baby's oesophagus. The labour was progressing well until half way through when the baby's heart rate dropped considerably.

Becky was rushed into theatre for an emergency c-section, Chris was scrubbed up ready to accompany his wife but time passed, not knowing that in the meantime her previous caesarean scar had ruptured and the baby was breach. What happened next was far from expected; Becky started suffering from internal bleeding and her kidneys started to fail, she was immediately put into intensive care.

Meanwhile, their little boy was born and for nine minutes was without a heartbeat and had no oxygen circulating his tiny body for 20 minutes.

Chris says: “Luckily because of the fantastic facility we were in, the doctors managed to somehow save our son and kept him alive on a ventilator.  He was then sent to Newborn Intensive Care Unit and placed on a cooling machine to receive 72 hours of Hypothermia Therapy to basically shut the body down and to allow the toxins from the brain damage to be released without causing more problems.  Not many hospitals have this equipment and if it wasn't for this, and the brilliant work from the staff, the story could have been completely different.  

I find it hard to put into words as to how thankful I am for what this magnificent place did for me and my family.”

Sam is now one year old and doing well, Becky has also made a full recovery. Chris now plans to fundraise for the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saint Mary's to say thank you for saving the lives of his young family. 

Chris continues: “I plan to do fundraisers over the next few years to try and pay back as much as I can although no amount of money will ever match what they have done for me.”

With this in mind Chris will take to the streets on Manchester on 28th June pedalling 52 miles to raise money for the unit. On the 4th July Chris will then take the plunge in the Great Manchester Swim, all with the aim to raise as much money as possible for Saint Mary's. This comes in addition to the fantastic £1100 the couple have already raised from Sam's christening, asking for donations instead of presents. 

Hannah Thomas, Events Manager for Saint Mary's Hospital Charity, added:

“It is wonderful that Chris has pledged his support to the Charity following the care that Rebecca and Sam received. The Great Manchester Cycle and Swim are tough events and we wish Chris the best of luck with his challenge!  The Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Saint Mary's treats around 1,000 of the poorliest babies in the region each year and support like Chris' means that we can purchase state-of-the-art equipment for diagnosis and treatment as well as providing facilities that make life easier for the families on the unit.”

Saint Mary's Hospital Charity is raising money to ensure continued excellence in treatment, care and research at the hospital – improving the lives of thousands of patients each year across the North West and beyond.

The support of the Charity means that the hospital can provide additional resources that make life easier for patients and their families who use the hospital.

Click here to enter the Great Manchester Cycle