Dad from Bishop's Castle repays gift of life

Reporter:

Owain Farrington

AFTER an operation saved his baby’s life, a father is fundraising to support the hospital that helped his family.

Beth Smith, of Bishops Castle, is almost two-years-old and was diagnosed with bicoronal crainiosynostosis at birth.

The condition is a rare type of skull fusion that prevents the bones from growing with the brain.

Beth’s father, Peter Smith, said: “To be told she has got to have an operation, you can’t describe it. You didn’t know from day to day if she was going to have to go in.”

The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford referred the Smiths to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where the treatment took place.

Mr Smith added: “She is the 61st case in the UK with the condition. She’s not even two-years-old yet.

“The hospitals have been fantastic. Telford Hospital picked up on it when she was first born.

“The care has been unbelievable.”

Mr Smith is part of a closed Facebook support group for fathers going through a similar ordeal and they helped him through the difficult times.

He said: “Her operation was on May 2. There was five hours of waiting, when we just didn’t know what was happening.

“In the group they were all saying to stay away from the hospital during the operation and let them do their job.

“Then to receive a phone call to come back to the hospital straight away, you think, has something bad happened.

“They said she was in recovery and she had lost a lot of blood. But she has bounced back and it is amazing.”

Little Miss Smith has had metal distractors installed in her skull that her father must adjust by two millimetres daily as she grows.

Despite going through so much at such a young age, Miss Smith is going about her business as a happy little troublemaker.

Mr Smith added: “It hasn’t fazed her at all. She’s always got this cheeky little smile on her face and you can’t believe it.”

To any parents going through something similar, Mr Smith said support groups helped him with all the advice and answers he needed.

“I got a lot of help from the Facebook support group. It really helped me as they told me things you don’t even think about, like taking pillows to the hospital. It’s nice to have someone there who has been through it.

“There are so many questions you want to ask but you feel silly, like what clothes to buy for her after the op.”

To thank Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Mr Smith has started fundraising for them in several ways.

He has set up a JustGiving page, he collects donations at Churchstoke Butchery where he works and he also attracts donations with his home made beer.

“Me and my daughter love home beer making. We can’t sell it because we don’t have a license, so what we do is give it away and in return people donate to the hospital.

“It is something me and my daughter enjoy doing together and it helps a good cause,” he added.

n To donate to the JustGiving page, search online for: bit.ly/2rOOHQD

See full story in the County Times

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