Dad says thanks for saving '˜miracle' son

William with his little brother BenWilliam with his little brother Ben
William with his little brother Ben
Tom Starey has raised £2,000 for the hospital that saved his son born ten weeks early. Catherine Scott reports.

William Starey was born ten weeks and spent the first wo months of his life in intensive care.

Now his dad Tom has rambled, scrambled and raced his way to raise thousands of pounds for Sheffield Hospitals Charity and the unit that saved his son’s life.

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Tom, 36, from Hunters Bar, completed a Strathpuffer 24 hour mountain bike race and trekked the 96 mile West Highland Way raising nealry £2,000 for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Jessop Wing, where his son William was treated.

“William was our miracle baby, conceived through IVF. We were thrilled when we found out my wife, Joanne was pregnant, but within the first six weeks she was admitted to hospital as she was experiencing complications,” says Tom.

“She was diagnosed with placenta previa – where the placenta covers the opening of the womb, which normally corrects itself as the pregnancy progresses. However as Joanne went into premature labour, an ambulance was called and William was born via emergency caesarean section less than four hours later.” He weighed just 4lb.

“I was away with work in Dubai so Joanne and my mother-in-law frantically tried to phone me. Luckily I was able to speak to her just after William was born, but I felt helpless being miles away from home. I was put on the first flight home and was with them the next day. Joanne had to stay in hospital for five days, but William needed much longer care. His lungs were not developed and there was no time to be given steroids before his delivery, which would have helped.

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“For the first week he was ventilated and on breathing aids for the next eight weeks. We were preparing to bring him home on oxygen support, however in the last week he surprised us all, and was able to breathe unaided.”

“During that 10 weeks the staff were very supportive, and we were, and still are, very thankful for their excellent care.. William is now five years old. He has chronic lung disease, asthma and his development has been slower than similar aged children. But if you were to see him now he is a happy, contented little boy that takes everything in his stride. Fundraising is a way of giving something back,” said Tom.

Around 8000 babies are born each year at the Jessop Wing, which includes caring for around 800 critically ill and premature babies in one of the largest and most specialist, Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the country. The hospital supports thousands of families each year from Sheffield, Yorkshire and the rest of the UK.

Visit www.sheffieldhospitals to support babies and their families.