RUNNERS took on a marathon challenge across Sunderland to raise money for sick youngsters.
Staff from Sunderland College took part in a marathon run, taking them around the city and visiting all the campuses, to raise funds for the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital.
The event was organised by Jakki Weaver, a welfare officer at the Hylton Skills Campus, as a thank-you to the staff who saved the life of her baby niece, Tillie Rose Webb, who needed open-heart surgery when she was just a week old.
Tillie was born in November last year at James Cook Hospital, Middlesbrough, weighing a healthy 7lb 10oz, but within minutes nurses realised something was seriously wrong and the tot was rushed to the Freeman where an operation was done to insert a balloon pump into her tiny heart to stabilise her.
Her parents, Paul Webb and Kelly Rudd, were told that two of her main arteries were in the wrong places and she would need open-heart surgery.
When she was a week old she was thought to be strong enough to undergo the six-hour operation to swap them round.
Just four days later, Tillie was allowed to go home and is now a happy, healthy six-month-old.
Jakki said: “It was just awful. She wasn’t getting enough oxygen and her face was black.
“The work they do there is just fantastic, it is absolutely amazing.
“Without the care and support of the doctors and nurses at the heart unit, Tillie would not be here.”
Jakki said the little girl’s family can’t thank everyone at the hospital enough for their care and support, including providing accommodation for her parents.
Joining Jakki on the run were her husband, Carl Weaver, a lecturer at Sunderland College, Alan Hooker, also a lecturer, Daniel Patrickson, enrichment officer and welfare officers, Tracey Seed and Victoria Field.
Prior to setting out on the run the six had already raised more than £400 for the hospital and hope to have added a lot to the total by doing collections along the way.
Anyone who would like to make a donation can visit justgiving.com/sunderlandcollegechufrun.