Leeds Children's Hospital patient Lizzie takes on charity's running challenge to thank NHS for lifetime of care

It was only a few minutes after Lizzie Thomas was born that she stopped breathing and was rushed into intensive care.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 6:00 am

Doctors discovered that she had a condition called Choanal Atresia, which meant that her nasal passage was blocked and she could not breathe properly.

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She would undergo her first operation two days later and then spend several weeks on the Neonatal Unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

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Lizzie Thomas has signed up to the Leeds Parks Challenge in aid of Leeds Hospitals Charity to show her appreciation for NHS who have cared for her since she was born. Picture: Simon Hulme

Just when her family thought things could not get any worse, Lizzie was diagnosed with a second condition - haemolytic anaemia. It causes her red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body, to deplete quicker than they can be made.

Mum Sarah Thomas, 48, said: "To find out that your newborn baby has complex health conditions was very worrying. Lizzie was only a few weeks old and had already undergone around four operations."

Now 13, Lizzie has been under the care of staff at Leeds Children's Hospital ever since. She has spent so much time there over the years - including having her gall bladder removed aged seven after her anaemia caused agonising gall stones - that she now simply refers to it has "her hospital".

It is why the Carr Manor Community School pupil has decided to give something back to thank the NHS heroes who have cared for her and who help so many other children in hospital.

Lizzie as a toddler during one her regular visits to Leeds Children's Hospital.

Lizzie has signed up to Leeds Hospitals Charity’s Leeds Parks Challenge with the aim of completing 10 5k circuits of her local parks in Meanwood. She plans to complete her final 5k run on March 27 - her 14th birthday.

Sarah, who is completing the challenge alongside her daughter, said that she could not be more proud.

"Despite the challenges Lizzie still faces, she is determined to raise money and has really impressed me with her conviction to complete the Leeds Parks Challenge," she said. "She’s taking it below and steady but has set herself the goal of running the entire 5k on her final day."

Thanks to her commendable fundraising efforts so far, Lizzie has raised more than £3,000 for Leeds Hospitals Charity to help staff across Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust to support patients and their families.

Lizzie spent several weeks on the Neonatal Unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

What is Leeds Hospitals Charity?

Leeds Hospitals Charity - previously known as Leeds Cares - is the dedicated charity for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

It works closely with the more than 18,000 people who work at our local hospitals to support projects that the NHS does not fund, helping to relieve pressure on staff and make a real difference to the experience of patients and their families.

Lizzie plans to complete her final 5k run on March 27 - her 14th birthday. Picture: Simon Hulme

With the support of generous donors, it makes that valuable contribution by raising funds for equipment, services, education and research.

The charity provides support for eight areas which include Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Children’s Hospital, Leeds Cancer Centre, St James’s University Hospital, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Seacroft Hospital, Wharfdale Hospital and Leeds Dental Institute.

Working with local communities, schools and businesses across the city and beyond, it provides an average of £5m in additional funding for the trust each year.

With more regular donors, the charity would be able to do even more to back projects that have the potential to do so much good for hospital staff and patients.

Now the Yorkshire Evening Post is asking readers to back the Help Your Hospitals campaign by becoming a friend of the charity and helping to raise an additional £3m during 2021.

Text FRIEND to 70660 to donate £5 a month or visit leedshospitalscharity.org.uk to set up a regular donation for any sum or make a one-off gift to the charity.

The Yorkshire Evening Post is asking readers to help Leeds Hospitals Charity to raise an extra £3m this year by becoming a friend and making a regular donation each month.

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