Michael Tait running London Marathon for Sick Children's Trust after surgeons save his son's life
PUBLISHED: 13:29 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:29 16 March 2017
Sick Children's Trust
Little Oliver Tait was just hours old when he had to be rushed 40 miles by air-ambulance to the Royal London Hospital if his life was to be saved.
He was born with an abnormal connection between his throat and stomach that left a gap, so his food would go straight into his lungs.
He would soon be dead—but for the air dash to Whitechapel from a hospital in Essex.
Oliver was in the operating theatre within 12 hours of his birth, but pulled through.
Now his dad, 31-year-old soldier Michael Tait, is taking on the London Marathon next month to raise £2,000 for Whitechapel’s Stevenson House ‘home from home’ hostel that gave him and wife Lisa free accommodation for two weeks just minutes from the Royal London.
“It was a complete shock when we found out how poorly Oliver was,” Michael recalls.
“You never think that your baby is going to have to fight so hard to survive before they’re even an hour old.”
The couple were filled with “absolute dread and fear” because they didn’t know what would happen when they arrived at the Royal London and their newborn was taken straight to the operating theatre.
“It hurt so much to kiss him goodbye and watch him be taken away,” Michael added. “But thankfully, four hours later we were told the procedure had gone well.”
That’s when the couple were introduced to the Sick Children’s Trust which runs Stevenson House.
They stayed for two weeks while little Oliver, now one year old, spent two weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit recovering.
“Anything more than five minutes away from the hospital is too much when your baby is just hours old and fighting for life,” Michael tells you. “But the Children’s Trust meant we could be by Oliver’s side at any time, pick him up and cuddle him when he was strong enough, and be there the moment he woke up.
“For that, I will forever feel indebted to the charity.”
A year on, Oliver is doing well back home in Chelmsford, but may have further surgery later this year and will have annual check-ups until he is 16.
The couple have been back to Stevenson House to thank the staff and to help the charity supporting other families with seriously ill children in hospital while relying on public donations.
Stevenson House manager Alan Booth said: “We’re so pleased that Oliver is doing well and glad to hear that Michael is running the London Marathon for us.”
The money Michael raises on April 23 is helping meet the costs of keeping open the charity’s 10 ‘home from home’ centres around the country. It costs £30 to accommodate a family for one night.