Best of Wearside Awards: Sunderland mum praises her 'feisty' son's battling spirit after he was born weighing 1lb 3ozs
Courageous Wearside boy Harrison Clark is continuing to defy the odds - two years after he was born weighing 1lb 3ozs.
The Sunderland youngster arrived into the world prematurely at just 26 weeks in September 28, 2017.
He spent five and a half months at Sunderland Royal Hospital where he was cared for by staff on the neonatal intensive care unit.
And while he still faces a daily health battle, Harrison is doing well – and mum Claire, 36, puts it down to his amazing character.
“He’s feisty,” said Claire. “He knows what he wants and he is very strong willed. He is a determined little lad.
“And when he is having a temper tantrum, we always say it was that determination which kept him here in the first place.”
During his five months in hospital at the start of his life, he underwent numerous operations including heart surgery, laser eye surgery and hernia repair surgery.
But after 160 days in hospital the courageous little boy was allowed home with parents Claire and Chris Clark, 35.
The Sunderland Echo first revealed his story back in July, when we told how Harrison was still on oxygen and was fed through a tube, but had come a long way down the road to recovery.
Claire said at the time: “Harrison was born so early and was so tiny that no one knew whether he was going to survive."
Chris embarked on a fundraising mission for the Sunderland Royal Hospital Neonatal Unit to thank them for caring for their son.
It included Chris and his friends doing a 152-mile bike ride.
The couple also raised money at a charity event at Harrison's christening. Their original fundraising target was £400 but the total has reached an amazing £2,760.
And while his health is improving, Harrison still faces challenges in life.
He still needs oxygen through the night and has a feeding tube in his tummy.
Harrison, who weighed around 19lbs at his last weighing, becomes the first contender in this year's Best of Wearside Awards and is a contender in the Child of Courage category.
Claire said: “It would be amazing if he won. He definitely has courage. He is still here today and this would help to raise awareness of pre-term babies and the obstacles they can overcome.
“People out there would be able to look at Harrison and think ‘ you know what, look at him. He was so tiny when he was born and look at him now.”
Best of Wearside Awards
Harrison is the first nomination for this year’s Best of Wearside Awards and we want more.
This year’s competition has backing from headline sponsor BGL, partner sponsor Utility Alliance, partner sponsor Gentoo, and category sponsor Marelli.
We thank them all for getting on board, and now comes your turn to get involved.
We hope you will inundate us with entries and make the job of the judges that much harder.
Take a look at the categories, read the entry instructions, and your favourite cause will be a step closer to hopefully winning a Best of Wearside title.
:: Community Group of the Year.
:: Student of the Year.
:: Green Champion of the Year.
:: Child of Courage.
:: Child of Achievement.
:: Young Voice of Wearside.
:: Fundraiser of the Year.
:: Volunteer of the Year.
:: Sporting Achievement of the Year.
::Community Champion Award.
HOW TO NOMINATE
To nominate, just send your name, address and telephone number, as well as your email address, if applicable. Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.
Also send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).
Send all of that to Lynn Wild by no later than March 2. Judging of all the entries will be held that same week with the finale at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, April 1.
There are three ways to nominate.
l Email those entries to [email protected]
l Post them to Lynn Wild, North East Business and Innovation Centre (BIC), Wearfield Enterprise Park East, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR5 2TA.
l Visit the website at https://www.bestofwearside.co.uk.