Team Talbot’s quest for GOSH

Paul Talbot, one of our retouchers, has taken part in many events to fundraise for Great Ormond Street Hospital, including RideLondon and the London Triathlon. He has a very special reason for supporting the hospital as he explained to me:

It was the summer of 2012 and life was good: we had a new house, a baby on the way and our little girl, Mia, was three years old and just about to start nursery school. Mia had been a bit poorly with a sickness bug and Helen, my wife, called to ask me to take her to the doctor as something wasn’t quite right, but by the time we got there she had brightened up so we returned home.

However, by that evening Mia had refused to eat anything, screamed all through bath time and begged Helen not to touch her because it hurt. She was asleep by this time, but a couple of hours later was screaming in agony. We rushed her up to the local A&E where we spent four agonising hours as they struggled to diagnose her. As it became apparent it was something they weren’t equipped to deal with, they started ringing around hospitals who could take her. That’s when I first heard the words “Great Ormond Street Hospital”. Inwardly, I panicked – that’s where really sick kids go, this must be bad.

We were met by a doctor who introduced himself as Alex. It was 3am, he was nearing the end of a 12-hour shift and I remember feeling a bit put out as he ignored Helen and I. Then I watched him examining Mia so gently, trying not to cause any pain. He was almost certain it was appendicitis, apparently rare in a child so young but very serious when it does occur. Mia needed to be scanned, but the radiology department didn’t open till 8am. Alex assured us we would be first on the list, then checked in with us every half hour or so and despite his shift ending at 7am, was still with us during the scan where his diagnosis was confirmed.

However, Mia now had an infection where the perforated appendix had leaked into her body and needed to be stabilised before they would consider surgery, so she was given a cocktail of antibiotics, steroids and plasma. The 45 minute surgery actually took more than three hours. It was a success but we were warned she would be weak and sleepy. It took two days to get a word out of her and the first time she smiled post op was glorious.

We were looked after round the clock by these amazing people. All the time, Mia was their priority and they treated her with such care and dignity. She made a staggering recovery and after two weeks was well enough to come home. As we said our goodbyes, I still can’t explain the emotion and gratitude I felt towards the doctors and nurses who had taken such good care of us all.

Mia went from strength to strength after this and as the dust settled, I decided I wanted to do something for Great Ormond Street. I didn’t realise that they depend on donations, so I scoured their charity pages looking for inspiration and saw they needed volunteers to run the BUPA 10k for them. My sister Katrina took part with me and it was such a buzz running up the Mall to be greeted by Helen, newborn baby Zac and supergirl Mia. I was hooked.

The following year I did the RideLondon for the first time, then the London Triathlon. I’ve done the RideLondon four times now – it’s still emotional to hear someone bellow “Go on GOSH!” as you pass. My highlight of last year was joining Gordon Ramsey’s team for the triathlon. I want to gain my London Classics medal this year, which is the London Marathon, RideLondon and Serpentine swim.

Helen will be the first to admit that these physical challenges are not for her. Instead she is an incredible baker and has organised more cake sales than you can shake a stick at. We’re also fortunate to be supported by Kempton Park Racecourse, who will often dedicate a race fixture to collecting for GOSH. We reckon we’ve raised around £10,000 over the past few years.

Quite simply, without Great Ormond Street Hospital, we wouldn’t have Mia with us today and all the time I can help, no matter how much, I will.

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