A mum from Rugeley, whose son was diagnosed with a rare condition affecting his skull growth, will be running this year's Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run on Sunday 13 October to raise money for Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.
Kate Wrighton is taking on her first half marathon to say thank you to the hospital where her baby son, Oliver, was treated for Craniosynostosis, a condition which left untreated can lead to serious complications.
When Oliver was just six weeks old, Kate noticed that his head was a slightly unusual shape. So, when the health visitor came for a check-up, the worried new mum mentioned her concerns. The health visitor examined Oliver and struggled to find the usual ‘soft spot' that babies have on their heads, so referred Oliver for further examination. After a whole day of appointments, Kate and her husband, John were told that Oliver had Craniosynostosis, a rare condition where the skull doesn't develop properly. In Oliver's case, the bones that make up his skull had fused incorrectly and earlier than they should have done.
Oliver was referred to Birmingham Children's Hospital where, after further investigations, Kate and John were told their baby would need to undergo a gruelling five-hour operation to completely remodel his skull, and would also need a full blood transfusion during the procedure.
It was a devastating time for the family and five months later, Oliver returned to the hospital for his operation. His parents kissed him goodbye, as he was taken to theatre. The surgeons carefully sectioned his skull into smaller pieces and rearranged them to allow it to flex and grow as it always should have done.
Kate said: “The day of Ol's operation was the longest and worst day of my life, it was horrendous. We just wandered aimlessly through Birmingham city centre unable to see through our tears. It felt so wrong to leave him there, because he seemed like a perfectly healthy, happy, smiley baby.
“When we saw Ol after the operation, we were just filled with relief. He had a massive bandage around his head but he was here and awake. After spending one week on the Neurosurgical Ward we were allowed to take him home, but had to go back for regular check-ups and speech and language tests.
“Luckily, Ol recovered well and eight years later, he has just gained a scholarship to study at Lichfield Cathedral School! We're so proud of him – you would have never thought he had such a tough start to life!
“I've never forgotten about the wonderful care provided to all of us during the time we spent at Birmingham Children's Hospital, so it only seemed right that I raise money to help other children and families who find themselves facing a similarly difficult time. I've always wanted to run a half marathon, so signing up to the Great Birmingham Run seemed like the perfect challenge.”
Miranda Williams, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity, said: “We're so grateful that Kate has decided to take part in the Great Birmingham Run for us after the specialist treatment Oliver received when he was a baby and it's so great to hear that he's doing so well!
“The Great Birmingham Run is always one of our favourite events in the calendar, as we witness a sea of our red balloon charity vests take over the streets of Birmingham! We'll be cheering on Kate and our other incredible supporters who tackle the 13.1 mile route on the day.”
The Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run half marathon is one of the biggest organised running events in the Midlands.
A new and improved 13.1 mile route will see thousands participants start on New Street in Birmingham city centre before heading to the south of the city into beautiful Bournville and the open spaces of Cannon Hill Park.
The half marathon raises thousands of pounds of extra income for local and national good causes. It also features the ENGIE Business Challenge, which invites work teams to compete for fastest-time trophies.
The Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run is one of Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity's biggest annual fundraisers. To get involved, visit bch.org.uk/great-birmingham-run
To support Kate's fundraising, visit justgiving.com/kate-wrighton.
To enter the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham Run click here