Chris Eades and over 45 of his friends and family will be running the 10k at this year’s Great Bristol Run to raise funds for Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal, the dedicated charity for Bristol Children’s Hospital. His son Bodhi has leukaemia and has received treatment from the hospital since his diagnosis in January.
Here, Chris explains from Bodhi’s perspective just how important this cause is to him and his family and why they’re taking on the challenge:
“On January 27th 2022, I turned three years-old. I woke up at 5:30am at the Bristol Children’s Hospital. I had been woken up early to allow me 30 minutes to eat something before I had to fast, as I was having surgery that afternoon. No birthday cake for me. I needed to have chemotherapy injected into my spinal fluid and a plastic port placed under my skin in my chest, which will be there for two years to receive special fluids and medicines whilst I undertake chemotherapy.
“You see, on January 24th 2022 I went for a blood test, as I was always getting ill and tired. Two hours and minutes after that blood test, I heard my parents talking on the phone and I was taken to Bath Royal United Hospital (RUH) for an emergency blood transfusion. A friendly play worker stayed with me while Mummy and Daddy went into the next room with the doctors where they were told I had something called leukaemia. The next evening, after saying a quick goodbye to my sister Nola, I got to ride in an ambulance all the way to Bristol Children’s Hospital. It was scary, exciting and felt strange but the driver was really nice. I woke up in a new hospital room the next day and began intensive treatment for my cancer.
“That was over six months ago and, since then, I have spent my time either in hospital in Bristol or Bath or at home. I’m not allowed to hang out with friends or at nursery, I can’t go to a soft play or even to a cafe because my Mum and Dad say it’s really easy for me to catch something from other people and get even more poorly.
“Luckily, I have found some new friends, like the doctors, nurses and care workers at Bristol Children’s Hospital and the RUH. They’re amazing. They stay awake all night taking my temperature, blood pressure and giving me medicines. They let me shout at them when I’m sad and be mad with them when they give me medicines that taste bad and injections that hurt and scary prods and pokes in my port. The crazy thing is, even though I can’t control my feelings (as this is all a bit difficult), they still play games with me and try to make sure I have fun. They give me presents when I learn something new like taking a new medicine and provide something called play therapy to distract me when things get tough. They even let my Mum and Dad stay with me all day and night and bring them yucky tea.
“The hospital even has treasure chests with toys in to encourage us and play times with a play worker to give the parents a break.
“What’s really amazing is that on the top floor of the children’s hospital, I feel like I am pretty lucky. My Mum and Dad get to go home when they need to, as it’s not far from our house, and the doctors say I have been recovering really well and have a really good chance of getting better. Others aren’t so lucky. Some of the kids I see out of my bedroom window come from places more than four hours away and their Mum and Dad have to live separately and not go home as it’s too far. They seem a lot sicker than me, and don’t get to go home as much. Luckily my new friends can help them through Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal to make their life a little easier. This is the charity that helps families like ours when we really need it.
“So, my sister Nola, my awesome Mum and slow coach Dad and I have decided to do the Great Bristol Run. It’s especially exciting because some of our friends and family are also doing the run with us. Like my Aunty Sarah, Uncle Owen and Cousin Nina who can’t come to Bristol as they live in New Zealand but will run with us through something called Strava.
“The rule is that it doesn’t matter what distance you choose, you just have say what you are going to do on the day and then to do it, on the same day as us. Nola, Mummy and I are going to do the Family run which is one mile. My Daddy is doing the 10km and some of our friends are doing what’s called a half marathon (that’s very far). If we can raise some money it will really help some of my new friends – other children like me (and worse) – and their families get the support they need through Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal.
It’s an awesome charity who supports Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital to help kids like me and their parents. Without them we can’t imagine what the last six months would have been like and how all mummies and daddies would cope with childhood leukaemia or cancer.
We are all going to do the best job we can and try really hard to push ourselves. Then this should help you to donate to such a fabulous cause, that is instrumental in the support we have received which would be a small way of saying thank you to all of my new friends.
See you on the running track losers!”
To donate to Chris and his family in aid of Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal click here.