A fund-raising drive will take place today (Thursday) in aid of a charity that supported a North Shields family following the premature arrival of a boy who was born without his forearms.
Nathan and Nicola Thompson’s second child, Elliot, was taken to the Neonatal Unit at the RVI and the day after his birth on March 5, eight weeks before the due date, doctors told his parents that he had a rare condition called TAR syndrome.
It is characterised by the absence of the radius bone in the forearm and a low platelet count, which makes it easier to bruise and blood clot.
He has spent weeks in the RVI, including five days on life support at Easter, but survived thanks to the care he received.
Tiny Lives, which helps premature and sick newborn babies and their families on the unit, has provided ‘amazing support’ for Elliot’s parents and older brother – three-year-old Theo.
And to give something back to the charity, Nathan has organised a Golfathon challenge.
He and 15 friends, split into four groups of four, will attempt to play four rounds (72 holes in total) at Tynemouth Golf Club in a single day.
It is set to take about 17 hours and participants will walk between 20 and 24 miles.
Nathan said: “On the evening when Elliot was born, Nicola said at about 7.15pm that she was having an early night because she wasn’t feeling too well, then 15 minutes later said something was not right and so once my parents arrived to look after Theo, we went to the hospital.
“We arrived at 8.10pm and he was born at 8.45pm.
“After about four weeks in the Neonatal Unit, we managed to get him home. But a few days later, Elliot stopped breathing. He was taken to hospital by ambulance and was in the intensive care unit, including the five days on life support.
“He is home with us now, but we have to go to the RVI every week to see specialists.
“We can’t thank the doctors and nurses enough and Tiny Lives has given us amazing support, including the emotional help from the psychologist and donating a car parking pass as the costs would have added up.
“The physio working with Elliot has been fantastic and would even take splints home and adapt them in her own time to help him.
“The response to the Golfathon idea was amazing and I had to say ‘no more’ at 16 players. Hopefully, we’ll be able to complete the challenge.
“Tynemouth Golf Club has been fantastic. As well as sorting the itinerary and making sure we aren’t held up, it is providing refreshments.”
For more information and to make a donation, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/elliots4roundgolfchallenge