A child’s life being in danger is every parent’s worst nightmare – and it was one Katy and Neil Godsell from Welshpool faced just hours after their baby was born.

Baby Eleri was born on October 16 last year, but within hours she was rushed to Birmingham Children's Hospital, and three days later she underwent surgery for a bowel complication.

Now a team of her parents' friends are to take on the London Marathon, as part of a fundraising drive to thank the hospital for saving their precious baby's life.

“We were really worried because we’d been waiting to have a baby for a while” said mum Katy.

“Obviously when you have a baby you don’t expect anything to go wrong and when it did it was a bit of a shock.”

Worries about Eleri’s health began after she hadn’t passed a bowel movement for several hours after her birth. After that, Katy says, things moved quickly.

“They did tests and things they could just tell her tummy was extended so they were pretty sure it was some kind of obstruction," she said. "So, were put in ITU in Walsall hospital until there were beds available in Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“They were really good in Birmingham she was put on the neo natal ward and whilst everything was up in the air we were both allowed to be there until a diagnosis was reached so none of us had to leave her at all.

“We can honestly say that it was the scariest time in our lives and we are so grateful to the teams of experts at BCH that continue to treat, care for and support Eleri and ourselves.”

Eleri was eventually diagnosed with Hirschsprung disease, a very rare condition which stops part of her bowel functioning properly and for which she underwent lifesaving surgery.

Katy could not praise the care they received highly enough.

“All the nurses and all the doctors were brilliant.

“They were really good in terms of dealing with all our needs they were really good also with the speed with which they dealt with it. The consultant was very clear but also very supportive in terms of what it could be and couldn’t be done."

Now, eight months later Eleri is happy and healthy.

“If you met her you wouldn’t be able to tell any difference, she’s eating, drinking normally, she’s hitting all her development milestones she’s absolutely brilliant.” said Katy.

“She really wants to crawl but she hasn’t quite figured that one out yet but she looks like she’s going to be a walker before she’s going to be a crawler.”

To show their appreciation for the care the Birmingham Children’s Hospital gave Eleri, they have formed Team Eleri to raise money for the hospital.

Joining Katy and Neil along with their friends, Ffion Evans from Welshpool and Melissa and Phil Turnbull from Forden.

“Our fundraising target is £5,000 but, of course, we would like to smash this to provide as much help and support as possible to children who need the help of Birmingham Children’s Hospital now and in the future,” said Neil.

The first fundraising event will be a Spinathon being held at the Flash Leisure Centre on Sunday, July 24 from 9am to 1pm.

Melissa, Phil and Fionn are planning a sponsored run in the London Marathon in October although Neil can no longer take part after an injury.

“We were so bowled over by the the amount of help that received since Elleri has been born” says Katy.

  • Those interested can follow the team’s progress and find out about any new and exciting events planned this year on Facebook. Donations can be made on a JustGiving page, collection tins will be available at Figure and Face and Coco Coffee House in Welshpool or sponsorship forms are available from Katy on Tel: 07739409311.