2:29pm Thursday 15th May 2014
By James Connell
A PASSIONATE group inspired by a brave baby boy who lost his fight for life have been recognised as “heroes" for their relentless fundraising efforts.
Dave and Beverley Rachel of Warndon Villages, Worcester, collected the glass plaque award on behalf of “Theo’s Friends” at the Hundred Heroes Thank You Event at Birmingham Children’s Hospital last Saturday.
The courage of baby Theo, dubbed a “little warrior” by his father Dave, showed that heroism was catching after his supporters were named among the hospital’s most treasured backers, who between them have raised £800,000 for the hospital’s charity.
The name Theo’s Friends was also contained in a red balloon for a plaque in the entrance to the hospital, immortalising the group of 280 people, friends and family in the UK and overseas, who have been inspired by his fight for life.
Mr Rachel told your Worcester News he hoped no-one would see the plaque as it would mean a child they loved was in hospital.
Theo died aged three months old in Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester in February 2013 when medics could not restart his heart. Theo had a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome which prevents the left side of the heart developing properly and had battled through a nine-hour operation just two days after he was born.
The annual event is way of thanking the hospital’s “very special supporters” for their fundraising efforts over the last year. Theo’s Friends have raised £20,000 since his death for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities which provides a home from home for families so they can be at the bedside of their children while in hospital. Zolfo Cooper, where Mr Rachel’s son, Craig, works, have raised a further £20,000. Mr Rachel, 48, who trekked across the Sahara for Theo and ran in the Birmingham Half Marathon, said: “It is very humbling and inspiring. It was really difficult and very emotional. They were talking about all the people who had raised money and some children who may not be with us anymore. We are all people who have not given up. We are going to carry on raising money.”
He is keen to see the money spent on equipment for paediatric intensive care or ward 11 to help other children like his son have a fighting chance of life.
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