Mother takes on Great North Run to thank the team who saved her son

Stephanie Bell and son Charlie
Stephanie Bell and son Charlie
Have your say

SUNDERLAND call-centre worker Stephanie Bell is hitting the road this weekend to thank the people who saved her son’s life.

Stephanie, a team leader at Fusion’s Sunderland Enterprise Park site, is taking part in The Great North Run to raise money for the Freeman Hospital’s Children’s Heart Unit Fund.

Charlie, who was born in February, was diagnosed early in Stephanie’s pregnancy with a complex heart defect Double Inlet Left Ventricle – which affects about five in every 100,000 babies – and relies on the vital care provided by the hospital’s dedicated team of doctors and nurses.

Now Charlie, who Stephanie calls “a right little character”, is doing very well and at home with mum and dad Rory in Chester-le-Street.

Stephanie, 31, said: “This charity has provided the most wonderful medical care for Charlie and emotional support to our family for which we will be eternally grateful.

“We don’t know what we would have done without them.

“Charlie’s heart can never be fully fixed, but over a series of operations, the skilled surgeons are able to reconstruct his heart, hopefully allowing him to live a near normal life.

“The Freeman Hospital saves the lives of babies and children just like Charlie day in, day out, and this is why I want to run to raise funds for the charity.

“I have never run properly before, so it’s fair to say this race will be a challenge, but seeing the huge sponsorship donations coming in will make it all worthwhile.”

To sponsor Stephanie visit

For further information on the Children’s Heart Unit Fund, visit