Giving back by running forward: Jacqueline’s story

13 April 2018

When Jacqueline Terry’s 15-year-old daughter, Isabelle, was taken seriously unwell by a mystery illness, she was told her daughter may not live.

woman standing by the sea, leaning against concrete wall and wearing sportswear with evelina logo on it
Jacqueline Terry in her fundraising T-shirt

Eight years later, Isabelle is at university training to be a doctor, and Jacqueline is running the London Marathon to thank Evelina London for saving her daughter’s life.

Isabelle’s illness

Isabelle was being treated for an unknown illness at her local hospital in 2009 when her condition rapidly deteriorated and she was put in an induced coma. The hospital called Evelina London for advice, and an ambulance was sent to transfer Isabelle. Her parents, Jacqueline and Colin, stayed by her side as she spent three days on life support in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Isabelle was diagnosed with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), a rare, life-threatening condition caused by bacteria getting into the body and releasing harmful toxins that damage tissue and prevent organs from working.

‘Isabelle has no memory of her time in PICU but remembers the staff on Mountain Ward where she made a full recovery,' says Jacqueline. ‘Their kindness and compassion helped her get through this terrible, near life-changing illness. Isabelle was so inspired by the care she received during this time and in her follow-up appointments that she decided to become a doctor and is now in her fifth year of training at university.’

Reassuring touches

While their daughter was in PICU, the staff gave Jacqueline and Colin a ‘memory book' to record Isabelle’s progress, which the doctors and nurses also wrote and drew in. Jacqueline recalls how helpful it was to have something to do over those three unimaginably tense days, as well as many other things that offered extra support when they needed it most.

'We used the playroom toys for therapy, such as music and reading’ says Jacqueline. ‘We liked the colourfulness of the hospital, like the design and themes of wall displays. These reassuring touches really helped during this hard time and I felt inspired to give something back.’

Running for Isabelle

Jacqueline applied for the London Marathon 2018 along with family members but was the only person to secure a place. She decided to do it alone, donating the money she raises to Evelina London to help seriously ill children and their families and to help raise the profile of the hospital.

Jacqueline has been training and fundraising hard and held a raffle to help meet her target of £2,500. Her family and friends, including Isabelle, will be there to support her on the big day.

‘I am looking forward to an experience of a lifetime - wearing my race vest with pride, supporting Evelina London and being carried along by the amazing crowds whilst taking in the iconic landmarks’ says Jacqueline.

‘I will be so proud on the day to be running for the hospital, and reminding myself how lucky we are to have Isabelle and to have experienced Evelina London’s care.’

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