22/08/19How you can help us to support Great Ormond Street Hospital (and it won’t cost you a penny!)

On my 50th birthday, I walked Hadrian’s Wall and raised over £13,000 for an incredible cause; the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). Now, five years later, it’s time to find another way to give back.

GOSH is a well-known charity but, for me and my family, it holds a special place in our hearts after my son, Noah, was treated there.

Our story

A cold. A normal, everyday cold is what Noah had when he was eight months old. Bunged up in his nose and, when he took on milk, it completely blocked his breathing, so we decided to pop to our GP, where Noah cried his eyes out, stethoscope cold on his chest, he wasn’t happy. “Baby Noah has a heart murmur. I can hear an additional heartbeat. I’ll make a referral to the hospital,” is what the GP said. Pah! We thought, the old doctor just wanted Noah out of his surgery.

A few weeks later we were at Bedford Hospital, but, once again, Noah was having none of it and the doctor we saw suggested we get referred to GOSH as they could handle things better. A couple of months after that, we were there, us in this iconic hospital, wondering why. Well, it became apparent that Noah had a small hole in his upper septum and a small, keyhole surgery was recommended – nothing urgent – they’ll be in touch.

With Noah now aged 14 months, we go down to GOSH on 9th January 2013 for a 5pm appointment, ready for the procedure at 7am the following day. Pre-checks were done, and one last ultrasound scan was required to double-check everything, as the diagnosis was made via stethoscope.

After sedating Noah to calm him, the ultrasound operator sat down and began his checks. Ten minutes later, our world fell apart and we went hurtling into a numb abyss. He said: “Noah has some ‘plumbing issues’. The arteries are fine, but he has too many veins on one side of the heart. One side is not draining into the lungs as it should and is, therefore, currently three times the size it should be. There is only so much air the tyre can take before it goes, do you know what I am saying?”

Yes, we did, but we couldn’t believe what we were hearing.

”We need to open him up, re-wire and put him together again properly. It’s a four-hour operation and we will stop his heart, place him on a heart bypass machine and re-start his heart – it is a very normal procedure with a 99% success rate.”

We were taken to a studio flat for the night, offered accompaniment but we refused. Noah slept, well, like a baby. Needless to say, we didn’t.

The next day, the anaesthetist came, took myself and my wife by the arm, dead eye stared at us and said: “He is in the best possible care. We will look after him and you will see him grow.” I fell apart at that – he knew what every parent before and after me must be thinking. At 10am a call to the operating theatre confirmed all was well – just post-op checks, then up to ICU for 24 hours where we could see him for a bit, even though he was still out. A mass of wires and tubes all over him, but our boy was good.

On Sunday 13th January, following eating, drinking and doing the typical post-treatment, we brought him home. We are still under GOSH and, in fact, Noah is due a check-up in September. Each time we go, I wander off to the prayer room, stare at the ‘wishing tree’ in there, and ultimately end up at the statue of Peter Pan, which is just above the morgue, and realise how very lucky we were and are.

Looking back, the expertise of the doctors, nurses and the rest of the Great Ormond Street Hospital staff meant our little boy was able to come home just four days after surgery. Noah still has check-ups every two years but has been thriving ever since. Thanks to the Great Ormond Street Hospital he’s a typical seven-year-old boy: cheeky and energetic.

Supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital

Five years after our last fundraising efforts, I want to continue to support Great Ormond Street Hospital. VS Associates is still growing and looking for new clients, so we thought this was the perfect opportunity to fundraise too.

Over the next 12 months, for every referral we get that leads to a new client, we’ll donate 10% of the fee to Great Ormond Street Hospital in the name of the referee. For an average VS Associates client, this will mean a donation of £175-£350. Not only will the charity receive much-needed donations, but we’ll be starting a new relationship with an individual who will benefit from financial advice.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress with video updates and newsletters. If you have any questions, whether about our experiences with Great Ormond Street Hospital, your own financial plan, or about referrals, please get in touch.

The charity: Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH)

Great Ormond Street is an extraordinary hospital that depends on charitable support to give seriously ill children the best chance to fulfil their potential. Every day, 619 children and young people from across the UK arrive at GOSH, where doctors and nurses battle the most complex illnesses and the brightest minds pioneer medical breakthroughs.

Set up in 1842, GOSH faces the incredible task of raising over £100 million every year to continue its vital work in providing essential treatments for sick children, as well as valuable research that puts it at the forefront of child healthcare. This year at VS Associates we hope to once again play a role in helping the charity reach this goal.

Learn more about Great Ormond Street Hospital and other fundraising initiatives for the charity here.

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