A determined 11-year-old boy has taken his fundraising to new heights after completing the National Three Peak Challenge and raising over £1,200 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, as thanks for the life-saving surgery he received as a baby.

Ellis Hobbs and his dad, Andy, scaled Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon in less than 24 hours, as their latest thanks to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where Ellis received open-heart surgery at just a few days old.

Ellis was just home from the hospital after being born when his health visitor noticed a slight blue colouring to his lips. Calmly, she told Ellis’s parents to take him to his local A&E but their arrival caused a whirlwind. Within moments of a nurse checking Ellis’s oxygen levels, she rushed him to intensive care in her arms. Stunned, Andy and Ellis’s mum, Claire, watched as doctors busied about their son as though they were in a dramatic movie.

Soon after, a critical care ambulance blue-lighted Ellis to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for specialist care, where after more tests and examinations, he was diagnosed with total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage (TAPVD). This extremely rare and hard-to-diagnose condition meant the vessels between Ellis’s heart and lungs weren’t connected correctly, making it hard for him to breathe. Ellis’s chances of survival were slim and Andy and Claire prepared for the worst.

Ellis was taken to theatre and in a seven-hour operation, the hospital’s expert surgeons worked their magic to correct and reconstruct Ellis’ tiny, walnut-sized heart. The surgery was a success and as Andy sat with his baby boy in recovery, watching him get stronger and stronger against all odds, he decided he would begin fundraising to say thank you for Ellis’s life-saving care.

Over the years Andy and his family have held charity balls, ran marathons and even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, raising over £40,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, but as Ellis turned 11 and began to understand his condition and how special the hospital was, he knew it was time to take the baton from his dad. Having taken on hikes with Andy in the past, Ellis, who now only returns to the hospital for twice yearly check-ups, wanted to make his first fundraiser a real challenge and settled on the Three Peaks Challenge.

Andy said: “When I was sat at Ellis’s bedside in hospital, there were times I wasn’t even sure that I’d be taking him home, let alone to the top of three mountains in 24-hours! There are just no words to describe the gratitude I feel, and I know that Ellis feels it too now that he’s old enough to understand the gravitas of what happened to him as a baby.

“There were some tough moments during the challenge, but it was Ellis who set the pace and kept us both motivated. He’s so strong and fit, both physically and mentally – you’d never know he’d had such a serious condition and I’m so proud of everything he’s achieved.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “After such a traumatic ordeal in early life, we’re thrilled to hear Ellis is not only thriving but channelling his experience into fundraising for us. Those funds will go on to support other sick kids just like him and we’re so grateful for his support.”