Having a ball: Super supporter Jo hosts fundraiser

30 April 2018

There are lots of ways to fundraise for Evelina London, from cake sales to head shaves. Jo Stride chose to host a glamorous charity ball to say thanks you for saving her son Samuel's life after he developed sepsis at just 10 weeks old.

close up of a two year old boy smiling, in the kitchen
Samuel. Image courtesy: Jo Stride

Samuel’s story

Samuel was born in August 2016. He had just turned 10 weeks when his mum, Jo, tried to wake him for his feed and found him groaning with a very high temperature and racing heartbeat. She phoned 111 and an ambulance was sent. In her local A&E, Samuel’s condition deteriorated quickly and Jo was told that it was unlikely her son would be going home with her.

‘Soon after, we found out that a team from Evelina London Children’s Hospital were en route and that, following their advice, the A&E doctors were going to start pumping Samuel with fluid,’ Jo says.

Once the team from Evelina London arrived, they put Samuel into an induced coma and assisted his breathing to release the stress on his heart. After one hour, he was stable enough to be transferred to Evelina London where he remained in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for 48 hours.

Samuel was given antibiotics and a lumbar puncture to collect spinal fluid for testing and the specialists discovered that Samuel had sepsis. An undetected milk protein allergy had brought on a water infection, which led to the life-threatening condition.

After two days, Samuel was well enough to breathe and feed without machines. He was moved to a high dependency unit to see through his course of antibiotics and was sent home three days later.

‘Samuel received outstanding care while at the hospital and without the Evelina London staff being so proactive, he would not be with us today. He is now a thriving 20-month-old baby without any medical or development issues,’ says Jo.

Giving back

Jo felt inspired to give something back to Evelina London for saving her son’s life. She recalls how the environment helped her cope during this hard time.

‘The atmosphere in Evelina London is incredible,’ she says. ‘It’s an amazing place where children and parents are going through such an ordeal but are welcomed by the support, love and care of the hospital staff. It uplifts you and gives you confidence.’

Jo decided to host a charity ball to raise money and awareness of Evelina London and the UK Sepsis Trust, who carry out vital research on this life-threatening illness. She says, ‘I want parents and children to have the care and facilities needed to nurse their young ones back to full health. By holding a charity ball, I was able to raise money to support this cause.’

Jo’s ball was a roaring success and raised a total of £3,226, which was split between Evelina London and the UK Sepsis Trust. Over 110 people attended, with £1,200 being raised in raffle money.

‘Everyone had a fantastic evening and I thoroughly enjoyed raising money for two well-deserved charities that are close to my heart. It was such a fantastic evening that I’m looking at arranging one for next year!’

Feeling inspired?

Find out how you can help raise money for Evelina London