Team Violet take on the London Marathon
In July 2017, Grant and Suzanne Fryer’s daughter Violet was born prematurely at just 28 weeks with an extremely low heart rate. Now Grant is taking on the London Marathon with Team Violet to raise funds for Evelina London and to say thanks for his daughter’s ongoing care.
Violet was transferred to Evelina London from her local hospital following an emergency C-section the day after she was born. Weighing just over three pounds when she arrived at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Violet was quickly diagnosed with complete congenital heart block, a condition which causes the heart to beat too slowly.
The first few days of Violet’s life were critical, and Suzanne was unable to come to Evelina London with her initially, having just had a C-section. However, Grant recalls how staff took care of him, as well as Violet when they arrived.
‘When I arrived at Evelina London, the consultants took me into a room, told me what was happening and gave me hope. They were both so caring and spent over an hour with me late at night.’
At just two months old, Violet had an operation to have a pacemaker fitted as well as a procedure to stop excess blood from entering her lungs. After over ten weeks in hospital, Grant and Suzanne could finally bring their daughter home. But as Grant remembers, the tough weeks in hospital were also a time of bonding for the new family.
‘Violet's stay at Evelina London was a real roller coaster, but the dedicated staff were amazing. Not only did they take such great care of her, but they also helped to guide us when our spirits were low. They comforted us when we needed it and helped us create some lovely memories, like Violet’s first bath.’
Violet is still an outpatient at Evelina London where she has regular check-ups and will need additional surgery every three to five years to replace her pacemaker battery.
Running for Team Violet
It’s thanks to her treatment at Evelina London that Violet has had the best possible chance of surviving. One in ten babies are born prematurely worldwide, and congenital heart disease is a common birth defect which affects thousands of children in the UK.
Now, inspired by his daughter’s experience, Grant is stepping up to the challenge of his first ever London Marathon to help the hospital make a difference to the lives of more children like Violet.
Grant will be joined by his two brothers, Carl and Scott, and will be cheered on by family and friends including Violet and Suzanne. Team Violet have set themselves an ambitious target, with some unusual incentives to encourage donations, as Grant explains.
‘If we raise £15k (which is double our target before the event), my brother Carl joked he will run it in his running shirt and a nappy! He is terrified at the prospect of being the only one running in a nappy, so I have also reluctantly agreed to do the same if we raise £20k and, if we reach £25k before the event, Scott will join us too!’.
But however challenging the run might be on the day, Violet will be at the front of Grant’s mind as he takes on the London Marathon.
‘I’ve never been one to challenge myself physically, but after seeing Violet fight for her life it has made me want to push myself. This is only a small challenge compared to everything she went through’.
Grant is running the London Marathon in Evelina London’s 150th birthday year!
You too can help the hospital celebrate this special occasion by supporting Team Violet, or by taking on your own challenge for the hospital.
Lead photo: Grant (middle) with brothers Carl and Scott.