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Queenborough mum thanks Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea by taking on 10k run

By Emma Grove

A mum is taking on a challenge this weekend to raise money for the hospital which saved her baby son’s life.

Kelly O’Connell, of Sterling Road, Queenborough, will join hundreds of other fundraisers, and Olympic hero Mo Farah, to take part in the BUPA 10k run in London today.

The 35-year-old is supporting the Royal Brompton in Chelsea as staff there cared for her seven-month-old son Henry.

Kelly O'Connell and son Henry
Kelly O'Connell and son Henry

When he was 13 days old last October, he was rushed to Medway Maritime Hospital with breathing problems and diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta, which is where the artery which leaves the heart narrows.

He was transferred to the Royal Brompton and had surgery on his heart to repair the aorta.

It has since narrowed again and he has undergone further operations and spent three months in hospital.

He is back home now with his mum, dad Liam and older brother Thomas, six.

Mrs O’Connell, who works at Nationwide in Sheerness, said he is taking medication for his high blood pressure and will have to go back for more surgery in July.

However, although he will always be under the hospital’s care, he should be able to go on and live a normal life.

The mum-of-two said: “We were told by the paramedic that Henry wasn’t going to make it and to say goodbye as he was in such a bad way – but they saved his life.

“As soon as we got through those doors everyone knew their job and they were able to stabilise him.

“It was very emotional and I feel very lucky to have had the NHS available to us.

“I will forever be in their debt and doing this run is a small way of saying thank you, showing my gratitude and giving something back.”

Mrs O’Connell is hoping to raise £1,000 and will be aiming to complete the run in under 55 minutes.

To sponsor her, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TEAMOroyalbrompton

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