Grateful father takes on charity challenge to boost hospital funds

Rhys and mum VickyRhys and mum Vicky
Rhys and mum Vicky
A FATHER whose son was born 14 weeks premature has signed up to a charity challenge backing the work of a hospital in Yorkshire which helped save his son’s life.

Matt Gardner, 34, of Edlington, Doncaster, wanted to thank staff for their specialist care of little Rhys, now two, who weighed just 1lb 10oz when he was transferred to Sheffield’s Jessop Wing where he spent his first three months.

Now he has taken up the Master Cutler’s Challenge which involves teams using their own business, entrepreneurial and fund-raising skills to turn £100 into as much money as possible over a six-month period.

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Master Cutler Tony Pedder has chosen Whirlow Hall Farm Trust in Sheffield and Sheffield Hospitals Charity as challenge beneficiaries – with money raised for the hospitals charity going to the Jessop Wing neonatal intensive care unit and maternity hospital.

Mr Gardner, a RAF engineer at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, said: “In his first weeks of life, Rhys contracted three life threatening infections, suffered a collapsed lung and needed to have three operations. At one point he was given only a 20 per cent chance of survival.

“Rhys was our first child and I was all set to be a protective father, when suddenly he was torn away from me. I had to put all my trust in the medical staff and they were amazing. I am so grateful to everyone, not just for how they cared for my son, but also for the overwhelming support they provided to me and my wife.”