Search

Hornchurch father raises more than £10k for charity that helped support his premature son

PUBLISHED: 16:12 07 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 07 September 2017

Charlie Jones was born 15 weeks early in December 2015. Photo: Sick Children's Trust

Charlie Jones was born 15 weeks early in December 2015. Photo: Sick Children's Trust

Archant

A Hornchurch family whose son was born 15 weeks early weighing less than two pounds have raised more than £10,000 for the charity that supported them through their baby’s care.

The sponsored sky divers who between them raised more than £10,000 for charity. Photo: Sick Children's TrustThe sponsored sky divers who between them raised more than £10,000 for charity. Photo: Sick Children's Trust

In December 2015, Charlie Jones was born 15 weeks early he only weighed 1lb 10oz.

Because of the premature birth, Charlie’s parents Gary and Carly Jones were told he needed to be transferred as a matter of urgency to the Royal London Hospital to undergo lifesaving surgery to fit a stoma.

“It was a rollercoaster three months and the worst time of our lives. We were told by doctors that Charlie’s chances of survival were very slim.

“When he was born he was so tiny that we could see his organs struggling to work through his almost-transparent skin. It was so stressful.”

Gary Jones with Charlie before the skydive. Photo: Sick Children's TrustGary Jones with Charlie before the skydive. Photo: Sick Children's Trust

Fortunately, the Sick Children’s Trust were able to offer the pair a place to sleep just minutes away from their son’s hospital.

The couple stayed at Stevenson House, supported by the trust, for two months until their son had made his

“We were so lucky though that when we did leave him we were only a few minutes away,” said Gary.

“In our room at Stevenson House there was a direct phone line straight to the ward so that we could call every night before we went to bed and every morning as soon as we woke up.”

A year and a half later, although Charlie still suffers from chronic lung disease and a mild form of cerebral palsy, he is working with an excellent physiotherapist and is a happy healthy little boy who can now crawl around and is trying to stand up.

To thank the staff at the Sick Children’s Trust for their support, Gary arranged a sponsored sky dive for some of his friends and managed to raise an astonishing £10,786 for the charity.

“Now that 18 months have passed and Charlie is doing so well, I wanted to organise a fundraiser to show our appreciation for the work of The Sick Children’s Trust,” he said.

“It was easy to get my friends on board, as this was their way of expressing their support for my family and they know how much the charity helped us.

“They saw us when we were in bits and they knew how much help we received.”

And so Gary was joined by nine other friends in jumping out of an aeroplane to raise money for the charity.

He said: “As we flew to 12,000 feet, every minute felt long and tortuous. It seemed to take forever.

“But we had so many family members and friends there on the day to cheer us on which helped, and overriding the fear was the pleasure of knowing how much money we managed to raise for this amazing charity.”

Stevenson House Manager, Alan Booth, who also took part in the charity skydive, supported Gary and Carly while Charlie was receiving treatment in hospital. Alan said: “It was amazing to see Charlie there on the day with his family looking so happy and smiley and Gary and Carly often bring him along to see at Stevenson House, which is lovely.

“The skydive was absolutely terrifying, but as a charity we rely on voluntary donations so we can continue to support families in the worst imaginable situations so I was determined to complete the challenge.

“The money raised will go towards supporting hundreds more families with ‘Home from Home’ accommodation when their child is seriously ill in hospital – and that’s why I faced my fears and took part!”

For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit www.sickchildrenstrust.org/


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Romford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Related articles

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Romford Recorder