Bristol Children’s Hospital is the paediatric intensive care centre for the whole south west region, serving families from as far afield as St Ives and Haverfordwest.

Thomas and William were born on 20 November 2014. Seven days later, their parents Rich and Kay took the boys to hospital in Cardiff, where doctors were concerned Thomas’s feet were a purple colour.

Thomas was referred to the cardiac department for a number of tests. After using heart monitors and an ECG, an x-ray showed that Thomas’s heart was larger than it should be. A cardiologist diagnosed Thomas with coarctation of the aorta, a serious condition where the main artery is unable to pump blood around the body properly.

In less than an hour an ambulance had arrived, and Thomas was transferred to Bristol Children’s Hospital. This was the first time he had ever slept apart from his twin brother William. His family travelled from South Wales to be near to Thomas while he was in hospital.

Thomas spent the next two days in intensive care before a three-hour operation to repair his artery.  After the operation baby Thomas spent another four days recovering on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), before returning home to Cardiff. 

The Grand Appeal is the only charity fundraising exclusively for Bristol Children’s Hospital, helping families from all across Bristol, the south west, and beyond to access world-leading specialist treatment and care. The charity raises funds to provide state-of-the-art equipment, family accommodation, ward improvements and patient services at the hospital, helping Bristol Children’s Hospital to continue to provide world-leading treatment to patients from an ever-expanding area.

Rich said, “While it was a very scary time, Thomas’s surgeon explained everything to us and helped us feel positive about it. Thanks to the intensive care team Thomas is on the mend and able to live a normal, healthy life.

“The nurses, doctors and surgeons that cared for Thomas were all caring, talented and efficient. We had complete faith in them and they really looked after our whole family.”

Through events such as the Bath Half Marathon, Rich and his friends and family have since raised more than £1,000 for The Grand Appeal, to say thank you to the team who cared for Thomas, and to help the hospital continue to care for families just like his.