13-year-old Lizzie Thomas has been under the care of Leeds Children’s Hospital since birth. This year, she decided to give something back to thank the NHS heroes who have cared for her and help other children in hospital.
Lizzie, a student at Carr Manor Community School, has signed up to Leeds Hospitals Charity’s latest event, the Leeds Parks Challenge, aiming to complete 10 5k rounds of her local parks, and plans to complete her final 5k run on the 27th March, her 14th birthday.
It hasn’t been an easy journey for Lizzie, who was rushed into intensive care after she stopped breathing just minutes after being born. Doctors discovered that Lizzie had a condition called Choanal Atresia, which meant that her nasal passage was blocked, and she could not breathe properly.
At just two days old, Lizzie underwent her first operation and spent several weeks in the Neonatal Unit at Leeds General Infirmary. Just when the family thought things couldn’t get any worse, Lizzie was diagnosed with a second condition, haemolytic anaemia causing her red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, to deplete quicker than they can be made.
Lizzie’s mum Sarah said:
“To find out that your new-born baby has complex health conditions was very worrying. Lizzie was only a few weeks old and had already undergone around four operations.”
The teenager now calls Leeds Children’s Hospital, ‘her hospital’ having spent so much time there over the years, having her gall bladder removed at seven years old after her anaemia caused agonising gall stones.
Lizzie’s mum, Sarah, is completing the Leeds Parks Challenge with her daughter and could not be more proud:
“Despite the challenges Lizzie still faces, she is determined to raise money and has really impressed me with her conviction to complete the Leeds Parks Challenge, she’s taking it slow and steady but has set herself the goal of running the entire 5k on her final day!”
Thanks to her commendable fundraising efforts so far, Lizzie has raised over £3,000 for Leeds Hospitals Charity to help NHS staff across Leeds Teaching Hospitals support patients and their families.
You can support Lizzie by donating to her JustGiving page.
There’s still time to join the Leeds Parks Challenge, you can find out more and get involved here: https://www.leedshospitalscharity.org.uk/Event/leeds-parks-challenge.