Grateful dad to cycle from Stevenage to Paris for charity after son was saved from deadly infection
PUBLISHED: 08:30 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:21 30 July 2018
A dad whose son was left fighting for his life after he became dangerously ill when he was just four weeks old is taking on a 271-mile cycle challenge for a charity which supported his family through the crisis.
Russell Cooper, 34, is an administrator for missile manufacturer MBDA in Stevenage and is planning to take three days to cycle from his office to MBDA in Paris in aid of The Sick Children’s Trust.
When his son Jack was four weeks old in March this year, Russell and his fiancée Kelly Slater, 31, began to notice a change in him. He showed symptoms of a cold, had gone off his milk and seemed very sleepy.
They took him to A&E and, while being assessed, Jack stopped breathing.
Russell said: “Our world fell apart. Our worst nightmare was being realised.
“We were ushered out of the cubicle and what felt like a millennium passed before a nurse came. All I could think was that Jack had gone, but she said he was stable.”
Jack was diagnosed with severe bronchiolitis – a lung infection affecting babies and young children. It causes the smallest airways in the lungs to become infected and inflamed, making it difficult to breathe.
Jack was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, more than an hour away from the family’s home in Coates, near Peterborough.
Russell and Kelly were told about The Sick Children’s Trust, which runs 10 homes from home – giving families with seriously ill children free accommodation just minutes from their child’s hospital bedside.
Russell said: “A nurse told us about Acorn House and handed us a key. For eight days, Acorn House was such a comfort to us whilst Jack recovered.
“Not having to pay for a hotel or worry about being far away from Jack made all the difference.
“The phones in the rooms gave us peace of mind and we were able to sleep knowing that if anything changed we could be with Jack in an instant.
“Fortunately, we got Jack home quickly and he is thriving, and now I would like to show our appreciation to The Sick Children’s Trust.”
Acorn House manager, Abi Abdel-aal, said: “The money Russell raises will make a huge difference to many families who need our support.”
Russell will set off on his bike challenge on September 14 and hopes to raise £2,000. To sponsor him, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/illbewalkinglikejohnwayne.