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child in hospital

Losing a child is unthinkable, but for some families, it’s a reality they must face. At The Grand Appeal, we’re here for every family, whatever the outcome.

We spoke to the incredible Rhiannon, who sadly lost her son Archie earlier this year, to hear why fundraising in Archie’s name was the perfect way to honour her brave boy.

“During my pregnancy, Archie was diagnosed with three different heart defects. We planned his birth in Bristol so we could be close to Bristol Children’s Hospital and its team of heart specialists.

As soon as Archie was born, he was put on a special drug to help his heart until he was big and strong enough for surgery. Unfortunately, doctors found out Archie was suffering from other conditions during a scan. It was devastating news.

Archie needed open-heart surgery. Being so small, doctors didn’t think he was ready for such a major operation. They decided to perform other small operations to help him grow stronger for when the time was right.

In May 2020, he underwent surgery to put a stent in his heart. These tiny tubes would allow his blood to flow to his lungs. Despite a very bumpy recovery, the surgery was a success, and we nearly went home! But it wasn’t meant to be.

That very day, we learned Archie had a genetic condition. It meant Archie could have had learning difficulties, disabilities, or behavioural problems, but no one knew. The condition was so rare that not even the geneticists could predict what would happen to Archie. It never phased us, though. We were willing to take on whatever problems he may have had.

Finally doctors told us Archie could go home. We couldn’t wait. Once a last routine heart scan was done, Archie would be all ours.

Unfortunately, the scan revealed Archie had Aortic Valve Stenosis – the main valve in his heart was narrowing. Unless Archie had treatment as soon as possible, his heart would stop pumping blood around his body and to all of his vital organs.

We found ourselves back at Bristol Children’s Hospital. It was comforting to see some familiar faces, but I wish it had been under better circumstances.

As Archie was whisked away to surgery, we said our goodbyes. Even though the staff did all they could, Archie went into cardiac arrest during the operation and remained asleep.

The moment they broke the news is something that will haunt me forever.

I feel lucky to have been able to make memories with Archie. No matter how much time passes, I will never forget him or what the staff did for us during his life.

Rhiannon, Archie’s mum

Knowing how much love and time they put into our Archie, I knew I had to thank the staff at Bristol Children’s Hospital somehow. I know without them my baby boy wouldn’t have made it to three months.”

Even though saying goodbye to little Archie has been the most painful experience for Rhiannon and Rob, Archie’s parents, they have put all their energy into raising money for Bristol Children’s Hospital in his name.

Rhiannon and Rob even dressed up as Shrek and Fiona to fundraise

A Grand Appeal Star Tribute Fund is a special way to remember a child, creating a lasting and rewarding legacy. Rhiannon and Rob started Archie’s very own Star Tribute Fund to fundraise for the Seahorse Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and Paul’s House, our charity family accommodation, where Rhiannon and Rob stayed throughout Archie’s care.

So far, they have raised over £3,700 in memory of Archie through lots of fantastic fundraising ideas. From making and selling car bows, a sponsored fancy dress walk, and taking part in the Grand Run, our new virtual running event, Rhiannon and Rob have gone over and above to make a difference to other sick children and families who are facing similarly tough times.

We want to thank Rhiannon and Rob for being part of our fundraising family. Archie’s Star Tribute Fund is such a special way to honour Archie’s bravery and we know he would be so proud of his mum and dad.

Fundraise in memory of a loved one

Wallace & Gromit's Wrong Trousers Day is back on Friday 21 June.