Thanking Phineas’ Friends with a birthday fundraiser

17 October 2019

In May 2010, Michael and Laura kept anxious watch at their baby son Phineas’ bedside in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Evelina London whilst he fought for his life.

Michael and Phineas
Michael and Phineas

They did not know whether Phineas would survive, or if he did, what types of health complications he may face in his future.

Thanks to the care of Evelina London staff, Phineas fully recovered and is now a happy, healthy nine-year-old. In the hospital’s 150th year, Michael has decided to raise money for Evelina London by asking people to give donations in honour of his own milestone birthday – the Big 50!

Phineas’ story

One Friday night, aged just three weeks old, Phineas quickly became very unwell and was admitted to the family’s local hospital in Kent. By Sunday afternoon his condition had deteriorated so much that he was transferred to the PICU at Evelina London.

‘Laura travelled in the retrieval ambulance with Phineas,’ recalls Michael. ‘By the time I got there the PICU team were hard at work stabilising him, and Laura, though still beside herself with worry, was comforted with the feeling that he was in the best place to get better.’

Doctors knew he had a viral infection, but their challenge was figuring out exactly what it was.

Phineas was suffering from extremely low blood sugar levels, his temperature was dangerously high and he was struggling to breathe. He had multiple tests, infusions, x-rays and brain scans whilst staff established what was wrong with him.

Specialist pathologists at Evelina London analysed his test results and identified the infection as Human Parechovirus meningitis (often just referred to as Parechovirus), which meant doctors were able to give Phineas the specialist care he needed.

‘Thanks to the brilliant work of the clinicians, nurses and scientists at Evelina London, Phineas made a full recovery and is a happy, healthy boy approaching his tenth birthday,’ says Michael.

‘We are keenly aware, however, that at one point his life was in the balance, and that many children who get this infection can end up with life-changing brain injuries and complications. We were exceptionally lucky.’

Happy birthday Michael and Evelina London!

Michael has been a supporter of Evelina London for many years now, fundraising and working hard to help raise awareness of the hospital. In his latest venture to raise money, he’s asking his family, friends and wider network to each donate £1 - or more if people wish - to Evelina London in honour of his 50th birthday.

As well as honouring Michael’s request, these donations are a brilliant way of recognising Evelina London’s 150th birthday, which we’re celebrating throughout 2019.

‘I was thinking about what a big birthday it was for Evelina London and a pretty big one for me too,’ says Michael. ‘I decided to celebrate by using the power of networking to help raise much-needed funds so that some other dad or mum can have their birthday wishes come true and their little one healed and cared for by the life-saving people at Evelina London.’

Michael, who is a photographer, has also encouraged around 50 business owners he works with to each commit to raising £150 for Evelina London in 2019 - a fantastic take on our Challenge 150 initiative, asking our supporters and communities to take on a 150th themed fundraiser for Evelina London’s Birthday year

‘The response I’ve had has been humbling! The businesses have taken on the challenge in different ways and are easily exceeding the target. And my birthday fundraiser is at about £2,500 inclusive of Gift Aid at the moment,’ he says.
‘As you read this there is another dad or mum sitting where I was, hoping for a miracle. I want them to have our outcome.’

Do you have a birthday coming up? Why not celebrate it along with Evelina London’s 150th and ask people to donate to the hospital as a special gift, like Michael is? Register your fundraising here.

Or you can support Michael by donating to his birthday fundraiser here. #Challenge150

What will you Challenge 150 be?