Grandad Greg and his team take on Guy’s Urban Challenge

23 September 2019

To say thank you for the treatment Evelina London provided baby William, grandad Greg, dad Tony and godfather Simon have teamed up to take on this year's Guy’s Urban Challenge to help raise money for the hospital.

William with his grandfather Greg
William with his grandfather Greg

When William was born six weeks premature and very poorly, he was admitted to Evelina London and cared for there in the early days of his life.

It’s over a year on, and despite his family’s worst fears, William is thriving. To say thank you, Greg, Tony and Simon – William’s grandad, dad and godfather – have teamed up to take on Guy’s Urban Challenge to raise money for the hospital.

William's story

The family knew before William was born that he had a form of congenital heart disease, which was detected from a scan while he was still in the womb.

When William’s mum, Ellen, went into labour six weeks early she was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital, which is next to Evelina London.

At birth, William was immediately taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Evelina London. As well as being treated for his heart condition, he was also severely jaundiced and suffering from breathing difficulties.

William’s grandad, Greg, remembers it as a challenging few weeks.

‘It was a very stressful and difficult time for Ellen, Tony and William,’ he says. ‘The staff were excellent and allayed all our fears and anxieties at such a difficult time. I don't believe any of us could sing their praises highly enough.’

Ellen and Tony stayed at nearby Ronald McDonald House for the few weeks William was cared for in NICU, after which he was transferred to another hospital closer to their home.

William still visits Evelina London regularly for monitoring and is looked after by Dr Sujeev Mathur.

‘The treatment and care were exemplary and at no time did any of us worry that William wasn't in the best place,’ says Greg.
‘William has developed into a fine young man and is making great progress. We’re very grateful to the wonderful staff at Evelina London who treated and cared for him during this important time.’

Family ties

As well as the family’s recent experience, Greg’s earlier connection goes as far back as the early 70s and into the 80s, when he studied and worked at St Thomas’, the very hospital where William was born. He even met his wife Debs there!

Not only that, but Ellen works at Evelina London as a senior staff nurse on Savannah ward, which her family are extremely proud of.

‘She and her colleagues work tirelessly to keep the children well, happy and on their way back home,’ says Tony. ‘We all could not be prouder of her selfless dedication to their care.’

The ultimate challenge

On 28 September the three-man team will take on Guy’s Urban Challenge, an urban triathlon that takes place at Guy’s Hospital.

The incredible event begins with a 2.4km run around the hospital grounds, followed by a 15km spin on state-of-the-art watt bikes, finishing with a 29-floor stair climb to the top of Guy’s Hospital Tower.

‘I'm a tad nervous about the challenge and will be more than proud to finish in a reasonable time,’ says 66-year-old Greg. ‘The sense of achievement for such a worthy cause will make the effort all the more rewarding.

‘We're all training hard and it does get a little harder for me at my age. The 648 steps in Guy's Tower seems daunting…this might involve a bit of crawling at the final flights!’

Guy’s Urban Challenge will take place on Saturday, 28 September 2019. As well as the triathlon activities, there will be a free all-day festival with lots of fun things including food, drink and entertainment – you can even strike a pose at the Photo Me Booth.

If you’ve been inspired by Greg’s story and would like to take part in next year’s Guy’s Urban Challenge

... then please put your email address in the box below to receive information on Guy’s Urban Challenge 2020.

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