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©The Sick Children's Trust

Dad to take on monumental three-day cycle to Paris to thank charity who helped his family

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Monday, 23rd July 2018

Dad to take on monumental three-day cycle to Paris to thank charity who helped his family

A local dad, who was supported by The Sick Children's Trust when his month old baby because seriously ill, is taking on the challenge of a lifetime by cycling from Stevenage to Paris to raise vital funds for the charity.

Russell Cooper, 24, from Coates, along with his fiancé, Kelly Slater, 31, were supported by the charity earlier this year.

The pair were gifted free 'Home from Home' accommodation whilst their baby, Jack, received lifesaving treatment in Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

The couple were given a room at Acorn House, one of the ten 'Homes from Home' run by The Sick Children's Trust, located just minutes from the paediatric intensive care unit where Jack was being cared for.

Just one month earlier, on 28th, February the proud parents had welcomed their baby into the world.

However, when he was four weeks old, Russell and Kelly began to notice a change in their son, who was showing symptoms of a cold, had gone off his food and seemed very sleepy.

Whilst he was being assessed by the nurse in Peterborough City Hospital's A&E centre, the unthinkable happened – as Jack stopped breathing.

Dad Russell, an administrator for a European engineering company, said: 'Our world fell apart when Jack stopped breathing. 

'Surgical screens were pulled across, a hive of activity surrounded our beautiful little boy. The noises, the urgency of the staff and the worst nightmares of two new parents were being realised.'

Thankfully, a nurse was soon able to inform the parents that Jack was breathing again, and was now much more stable.

After being diagnosed with sever bronchiolitis – an infection causing the smallest airways in the lungs to become inflamed – Jack was transferred to another hospital an hour away from the family's home.

But thankfully, The Sick Children's Trust were able to give the couple a set of keys to Acorn house, so that for the following eight days, Russell and Kelly did not have to worry about paying for a hotel or being far away from Jack.

Jack finishes: 'At the beginning of the World Cup I stupidly made a bet with a colleague that if France won, I would ride from our Stevenage site to the office in Paris. So now, I'm in training!

'The upside to me doing this is that I have an opportunity to make a difference to a lot of people, by raising money for The Sick Children's Trust.

'I hope to raise at least £2,000 which will provide a minimum 67 nights of accommodation for families like ours.'

For further information about The Sick Children's Trust, please visit their website.