Jake and Harrison’s story

Brothers Jake and Harrison Woolven are both treated at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital. Here is their story…

Brothers Jake and HarrisonGareth Woolven of national banger racing team The Bears, has supported Rockinghorse for a number of years and most recently helped organise a banger racing event in Eastbourne, which raised over £20,000 towards much-needed cardiac monitors. His son’s Jake and Harrison are both treated at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton. Here dad Gareth tells their story…

“Both of my sons, Jake and Harrison have attended the Alex on many occasions since birth. Jake has quite an extensive medical history but, in brief, he suffered prolonged Febrile seizures as a baby, and had numerous visits to the Children’s Emergency Department via ambulance. Now aged nine years old, he has recently been diagnosed with Austism, Hypermobility of his joints and also has a very complex form of Myoclonic Epilepsy. He has now been referred to the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London for continued testing but regularly visits the Alex for check-ups.

Harrison, now nearly two years old, has recently shown similar signs of his brother’s symptoms and has had full seizures for which he has also visited the dedicated Children’s Emergency Department. Back in December 2014 – shortly after the purchase of equipment funded by The Bears Big Bash charity event – Harrison had another seizure and stopped breathing during his sleep. He was rushed to hospital by a paediatric paramedic team whilst they set to work on him in the ambulance. After three hours in resuscitation he was sedated and put onto a life support machine. He was treated for suspected Meningitis and admitted to the High Dependency Unit at the Alex.

A day later, a retrieval team from the Children’s Intensive Care Unit was sent down from King’s College in London for Harrison – he was still unconscious but now more stable. My partner and I stayed at the hospital with him for three days afterwards during his recovery period but, without the equipment that was available at the Alex, Harrison would either have had to suffer the distress of being taken to London sooner to be treated, or even worse, he made not have pulled through.

To some people, this will be just another story that you read about in the press relating to fund raising. To us, this is exactly why we do it – to save lives and to help sick children get better. When one of the members of The Bears team has been affected by having a poorly child, whatever the treatment may have been for, it makes us ever more determined to continue with the support for Rockinghorse and raise as much as we can. None of us in the team were exactly made for running marathons to raise money, so if we can do it by means of something that we love, like banger racing and entertaining people at the same time then surely it has to be a good thing, right?!”