18 years ago, Emily was born four months prematurely. She was left with cerebral palsy and limited movement in her right leg.
Fast forward to 2021 and Emily has gone from young patient to fundraising hero. As she prepares to say goodbye to Bristol Children’s Hospital and move to adult services, Emily’s set herself an impressive challenge that she’s named ‘The Big Bristol Triathlon’.
Emily told us why raising money for her children’s hospital is so important.
“Everyone has places and people that are special to them. For me, it’s Bristol Children’s Hospital.
Since I was six years old, the hospital has cared for me and my cerebral palsy.
Despite some of the difficulties I have faced because of my condition, I consider myself to be very lucky. More or less, I can live my life like the rest of my friends and family. And that’s down to Bristol Children’s Hospital.
If it weren’t for the various operations they performed, I might be living a very different life from what I know today.
Having celebrated my eighteenth birthday in May, it got me thinking: how do I give back to the people that have given me so much?
It wasn’t just about saying thank you but making sure other patients receive the outstanding care I did. I also wanted to challenge myself in tribute to all the other children with cerebral palsy I had met over the years, some of who cannot live as independently as I can.
‘The Big Bristol Triathlon’ was born. Over three days in August, I plan to row, run and cycle for 100 miles – the distance between my house and the hospital.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I know I will have to push myself, both mentally and physically, harder than ever before. However, I am excited. It’s not every day you get to test yourself. I want to enjoy every moment.
With my mobility issues, training has been essential. Initially, it was all about getting comfortable with each discipline. Now as my challenge gets closer and closer, each session has been a little tougher. The last few weeks have been particularly hard as I get used to transitioning between each sport.
I can still remember when I first met my paediatrician. Rather than speak to my parents first, he introduced himself to me instantly. He took the time to ask what my interests were and find out more about me.
This moment has stuck with me. It’s a prime example of why Bristol Children’s Hospital is so amazing. They treat you with care, love, and respect. Despite my young age, they have always involved me in my treatment. And that’s why I’m desperate to raise as much money as possible for them.”
It’s not often you meet someone as determined as Emily. We feel proud to have her as part of the team.
With the help of people like Emily, we can continue to ensure patients and families at Bristol Children’s Hospital receive the very best care.
Emily’s challenge will start on Wednesday 25 August.