Tuesday 16 July 2024
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Couple runs five marathons in five days to thank hospital for saving daughter’s life

A couple has run five marathons in five days to thank staff at Nottingham Children’s Hospital for saving the life of their young daughter. 


Sophie and Tom Derry took on the challenge to raise money for Nottingham Hospitals Charity, after their daughter Odette was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February last year, when she was just three years old.

Odette in hospital 1

Odette, now aged four, has undergone surgery 17 times and spent seven months as an inpatient at Nottingham Children’s Hospital.

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Her parents have so far raised more than £11,000 through their five-marathon challenge, which started on Monday 29th May and ended on Friday 2nd June. The money will go towards neurology ward E40 at Nottingham Children’s Hospital, where Odette was cared for.

Odette in hospital 3 scaled

Mum Sophie said: “Odette received incredible care from the staff on ward E40 during her time in hospital. You are thrust into this unknown world that you really don’t want to be part of, but the staff do everything they can to make a horrendous situation bearable. The capabilities of the surgical team are mind-blowing, and the nursing staff are angels in uniform!

Odette in hsopital 2 scaled

“You see the same faces day in, day out, and they start to feel like family. They see you at your darkest moments, and are always there to support. Nothing was ever too much trouble, and Odette loved everyone. From the play workers, to the rehab team, to the cleaners, everyone was wonderful.”


Talking about why she and husband Tom decided to take on such an enormous fundraising challenge, Sophie said: “We wanted to do something to express our gratitude to those who cared so well for Odette. We also want to raise as much money as possible to hopefully help other children and families affected by brain tumours. 


“We knew that we wanted to do some sort of long-distance running challenge, and that it had to be significant to Odette in some way. We decided to run from the hospital that she was born in, Chelsea and Westminster in London, to the hospital where she received her lifesaving treatments. This just happened to work out at roughly a marathon a day!”


Speaking after completing the challenge, Sophie said: “‘We are blown away by the number of donations and support we’ve had over the course of organising and completing this mammoth challenge. We thought that our £10,000 target was perhaps a bit ambitious, but we’re thrilled to say it’s been smashed! As for the actual five marathons in five days, we’re relieved that’s they’re over and that we’re still in one piece – just!”


Odette’s brain tumour was first discovered after she complained of headaches and the family’s GP suggested taking her for an eye test, which identified some swelling. She was sent straight to A and E for a CT scan, which confirmed the tumour.


She underwent nine-hour brain surgery at Nottingham Children’s Hospital on 22nd February 2022 – coincidentally, in theatre number 22. The initial surgery was a success, but subsequent complications have resulted in a further 16 surgeries.


Odette is now doing well, and mum Sophie said: “After a frightening and lengthy time in hospital, we’re thrilled to say that she’s doing really well at the moment, and she’s slowly starting to transition back to her wonderful pre-school. She sometimes struggles with fatigue, but we know this is par for the course after all she has been through. She’s such a little fighter and we are in awe of how she’s handled such a traumatic time.”


Louise Knight, Head of Fundraising at Nottingham Hospitals Charity, said: “We are so grateful to Sophie and Tom for taking on this huge challenge in aid of Nottingham Children’s Hospital. It’s so touching that the family wants to raise money to thank the staff there for the care Odette has received, and we’re glad to hear that Odette is now doing well as a result.


“The money raised by Sophie and Tom will go towards helping other young patients and their families on ward E40, by providing things like specialist equipment, facilities to make the ward as family-friendly as possible, and toys and games to help bring a smile to the faces of young patients during their time in hospital.”


To donate to Sophie and Tom’s fundraising page, please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/5in5fornch 


For more information about Nottingham Hospitals Charity, please visit www.nottinghamhospitalscharity.org.uk 

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