A five year old whose life was saved thanks to doctors at the Great North Children’s Hospital is looking forward to taking part in the rescheduled Great North Run Mini 2021 to give back and raise funds for the hospital.
Henry, little brother to six-year-old Noah, was born with a rare condition which left him struggling to breath, unable to eat, or have a voice and his life was saved and he underwent seven months of treatment at the Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH) at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.
Henry and Noah were due to take part in the GNR event last year (2020) to raise funds for the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation, part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity, but it was cancelled due to Covid-19 Pandemic.
Henry was due to have life changing surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital in October 2020 following his first airway surgery in September 2019 at GNCH. But heart breakingly the family had to turn it down as travelling to London and staying in the capital during Covid-19 was too risky for Henry and his family.
Now the family are looking forward to having a revision procedure this year which will put in place everything Henry needs to breathe himself, talk and eat.
“It is such an important operation as it will change his, and our lives,” said his dad James. “So to not be able to go through with it because of Covid-19 was a set-back. To breath for himself, have his own voice and be able to eat normally are basic things we need to live. It would be brilliant if he could have this procedure in 2021, we are really hopefully for it this year.”
Both Noah and Henry are ready to do the Mini Great North Run. They are hoping to raise even more funds than they original did last year for the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation to help support other children and young patients.
“The doctors were instrumental in saving our little boy, they performed miracles in Henry’s early days and defied all odds.” explains Henry’s father James, an IT engineer.
“Our wish is to promote the fantastic work of Great North Children’s Hospital and Newcastle Hospitals and give hope to parents embarking on the journey- there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said James.
To sign up to join Newcastle Hospitals Heroes in the Great North Run 2021 click our Eventbrite page and complete the registration form. GNR organisers Great Run Company have announced that the only way to sign up to the event is through charity places. To find out more visit https://charity.newcastle-hospitals.nhs.uk/.
Henry Caine was just a few hours old when he arrived at the Special Care Baby Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle.
He was born on 22 March 2016 with Tracheo-Oesophageal Fistula (TOF), a rare congenital condition of the oesophagus and trachea that affects one in every 3,500 babies. TOF means that the bottom end of the baby’s oesophagus is joined to its trachea (windpipe). Without surgical intervention, this causes air to pass from the windpipe to the food pipe and stomach. It can also allow stomach acid to pass into the lungs.
A few days after birth, tiny Henry underwent bronchoscopy surgery, a procedure that looks inside the lungs airways to find the cause of a lung problem. And at just two-weeks-old he was fitted with a tracheostomy – an opening into his neck to put a tube into his windpipe to help him breathe.
However, his parents James, 40, and Anna, 40, of Burnhope, County Durham were also delivered the devastating news that Henry had many other medical complications including a hole in his heart and a horseshoe kidney, resulting in a seven-month stay at GNCH.
“He needed a lot more care than we ever thought,” said James. “I expected everything to be perfect when you have a child, naively. We didn’t know of The Great North Children’s Hospital then, just that you went there if you were very sick.”
Henry is one of just a handful of children in the world with his combination of diagnosis and to date, has been in theatre many times, several of those being for lifesaving surgery.
“The team in the Special Care Baby Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) and Great North Children’s Hospital gave us a very special present, they gave our son his life and we don’t know how we could ever repay that debt. We’re ever so protective of our NHS now,” said James.
Now Henry has hit all his major milestones apart from speaking, which is prevented by the tracheostomy.
“He is at the point where he is a very normal four-year-old,” said James. “He loves singing and dancing. He makes little noises as he can’t speak. He’s a clever little cookie, he taught himself numbers. He makes lego bricks and matches the colours on his ipad.”
To sign up to join Newcastle Hospitals Heroes in the Great North Run 2021 click our Eventbrite page and complete the registration form. GNR organisers Great Run Company have announced that the only way to sign up to the event is through charity places. If you are lucky enough to secure one of our limited places – which are available on a first come first services basis – we ask that you pledge to raise a minimum of £250 in sponsorship (excluding Gift Aid). Please note there is a £50 registration fee for this event. The registration fee is payable to Newcastle Hospitals Charity.
To sponsor Henry and Noah please click here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/henrycaine
You can watch Henry’s story on ITV here.