Inspirational Sheffield youngster raises money for Sheffield Children's Hospital after sight saved

An inspirational Yorkshire youngster has joined more than 100 supporters to raise much needed funds for Sheffield Children's Hospital.

In May, The Children’s Hospital Charity launched Theo’s 30 in 30’ challenge to encourage supporters to raise £30 in 30 days.

Among those who have taken on the challenge is 3-year-old Tilly Wild from Sheffield, who raised money to thank the Eye Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for her care since October 2019.

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Mum Natalie recalls: “Tilly woke up one day screaming ‘mummy my eyes have stopped working, I can’t see you. She also said that the light was hurting her eyes.

3-year-old Tilly raised more than 2,200 for the Eye Department

“We went to the Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. From the minute we walked in, they were amazing.”

Tilly was examined by the staff, who noticed a problem with her left eye and quickly referred her to the Eye Department. It was soon confirmed that Tilly had cataracts on both of her eyes.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. While common in older adults as a result of aging, they are rare in children and can cause blindness if left untreated.

Natalie continued: “Both of the doctors who saw us stayed well past the end of the clinic to see Tilly and make sure we were cared for. They then arranged a CT scan to rule out a brain tumour, which thankfully came back all clear at around 4am the next morning.

3-year-old Tilly raised more than 2,200 for the Eye Department

“Tilly then had an MRI scan and the Eye Department examined her further while she was under anaesthetic. The speed at which her care happened was phenomenal.”

“Over the first few visits, Tilly was very nervous and often uncooperative, so the team came up with lots of new ways to test her vision and get the best out of her every time. They also go to great effort to make sure she is looked after by the same team each time so they can build up a relationship.”

In December, Tilly had the first of her cataracts removed and after nine weeks of regular check-ups to monitor the healing, had 20/20 vision in her left eye. The operation to remove the second cataract then followed in March.

Natalie added: “The coronavirus pandemic hit two weeks later, and we’ve still been visiting Sheffield Children’s for check-ups. The staff have made every effort to ensure we feel safe and we’ve also had regular phone calls to ensure we are supported at every turn, with Tilly’s health and wellbeing paramount.”

3-year-old Tilly raised more than 2,200 for the Eye Department

“Tilly is now 10 weeks post-surgery and she’s doing fantastically well, getting used to seeing the world again through her new glasses. She’ll soon move onto some special bifocals to help her to start to read.”

To say thank you, Tilly took on a scootering challenge for her 30 days.

She raised a phenomenal £2,255 for The Children’s Hospital Charity, which will be dedicated to supporting the Eye Department.

Natalie continues: “Scootering is quite a difficult thing to do when you are seeing the world in a whole new way, but Tilly has done really well. As a family, we just wanted to say a huge thank you to every member of the Eye Department for everything they have done.

“The worry of Tilly losing her vision has made us aware of how skilfully and tirelessly the staff have worked to ensure her eyesight is the best it can be. They have made sure Tilly has the best possible chance of living life to her full potential and we will always be indebted to them and words cannot express how grateful we are.”

Cheryl Davidson, Events Fundraising Manager at The Children’s Hospital Charity added: “We are delighted that in just under two months since it was first launched, Theo’s 30 in 30 challenge has raised more than £10,000 for Sheffield Children’s thanks to our supporters making a difference from home.

“It’s so moving to hear about Tilly’s journey over the past few months and the excellent care she received at our hospital. We continue to wish Tilly all the best in her treatment and we would like to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to her and everyone who supported her amazing fundraising.”