Steven Saunderson, 46, is taking part in next month’s Great North Run in aid of the Sick Children’s Trust. It supported him and his wife Tracey whilst their little boy Murdo was in hospital in Newcastle undergoing lifesaving treatment and five operations.
The three-year-old was born with VACTERL association, a rare combination of serious conditions including major heart defects, major spinal issues and limb deformities.
And at the age of 19-months he had open heart surgery and surgeries on his oesophagus and bowels at two specialist centres in the city. During that five month period the family were provided with free accommodation and now Steven wants to give something back so that others can get the same support.Hoping to raise £500, he said: “The Sick Children’s Trust helped us massively. Having a child in hospital, such a long distance away from home and family support, is really difficult.
“It would have been very difficult financially to have stayed in hotels, especially for our longer hospital visits. It was comforting and reassuring to know that we were just two minutes away from the wards where Murdo was being treated. It also helped having a private space away from the wards, because when you’re far from home and stressed, you need that. The day after the operation, once Murdo had built his strength up, we were able to bring him into the house. It was really nice to be away from the hospital environment because it was much more comfortable.”
As well as the run, which he will undertake with brother Chris and which is the largest distance both have ever taken on, Steven is also doing a charity car boot sale at Tesco in Dumfries this Sunday. He added: “The charity made a huge difference to us. Running the Great North Run is a small way to say thank you.”
Training is ongoing and, despite both brothers suffering arthritis in their knees, Steven said: “Our training pain is nothing compared to what Murdo has been through and he just keeps smiling.” He added: “He is a very active little boy and loves to walk. It is such a contrast to seeing him in hospital. The operations made a big difference. “He’s very bright, and can be cheeky and stubborn, which I think is a good thing.”
Emily Corney, from The Sick Children’s Trust, said: “I’m thrilled to hear that Murdo is doing well, and that trust was able to help Steven and Tracey. “We really appreciate people like Steven choosing to run for us. If Steven can raise £500 it will make a huge difference to many families in need.”
To support Steven, go to https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/stevensaunderson1