Northampton dad reaches peak challenge to help charity

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A father from Northampton, whose son nearly died at birth, has completed a mountainous challenge to thank those who helped his family.

Christian Smith and his wife Lizzie were supported by The Sick Children’s Trust when their newborn son, Jack, needed open-heart surgery.

The 44-year-old dad and seven friends chose the National Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for the trust.

The group, who trained hard in preparation for the event, began the challenge in Scotland, climbing 1,345m Ben Nevis, followed by 978m Scafell Pike in England, finishing at night with the complete ascent and descent of 1,085m Snowdon in Wales.

Raising both money and awareness for The Sick Children’s Trust, the team took 27 hours to complete the challenge - raising over £4,000 for the charity.

Jack, who recently celebrated his second birthday, had a difficult start to life at Northampton Hospital when he had to be delivered by forceps and as a result - Jack’s airway was completely blocked and he was unable to breathe.

Within minutes of being born, doctors had to revive Jack twice and he was later diagnosed with a collapsed lung and acute pneumonia.

Over the following days, Jack seemed to grow stronger, and doctors were confident he could be sent home, however, at just five days old Jack was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition which needed immediate open-heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Christian said: “The wait for a hospital bed seemed to take forever, but eventually when Jack was two weeks old, one became available.

“Within two hours we found ourselves in the middle of London, overwhelmed and exhausted, whilst Jack underwent hours of surgery.

“We were so desperate to get to London and get the operation done we hadn’t thought about accommodation.”

After a night in emergency accommodation Christian and Lizzie were offered free ‘Home from Home’ accommodation by The Sick Children’s Trust - we were so grateful.”

He added: “We are all so pleased to have completed the challenge and raised money for families like mine. We were completely exhausted, but it was worth it.”

To support Christian Smith and his friends visit the fundraising site www.justgiving.com/fundraising/christian-smith11