A courageous 14-year-old boy took a leap of faith as he abseiled 200 feet down the side of a city centre hotel, raising over £2,150 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. 

Archie Parsons, from Stratford Upon Avon, uses a wheelchair but that didn’t stop him taking on the drop from Holiday Inn Express, Snow Hill, to say thank you to staff at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, who have provided ongoing treatment for an incurable disease since he was two-years-old. 

Archie’s mum Rosie, and dad, Steve, had noticed soft lumps appear on his head. They took Archie to see his GP but it wasn’t until a private dermatologist suggested he needed to be referred for an ultra-sound scan that the family closer to finding out what was going on. 

Archie was referred to the oncology department at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and after further testing, to Rosie and Steve’s devastation, he was diagnosed with a rare and complex disease called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis. Histiocytosis is an umbrella term used for rare diseases characterised by increased numbers of white blood cells called histiocytes in the blood and tissues. 

After a year of chemotherapy, Archie was given the all clear, only returning to the hospital for check-ups. However, over the next two years Archie began to struggle to speak, swallow and to walk. Archie returned to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for yet more tests, which confirmed an earth-shattering diagnosis of Central Nervous System Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis Neuro Degeneration, a late effect of the disease he was diagnosed with when he was two, which was affecting his gross and fine motor skills. 

At six-years-old Archie went on to have another round of chemotherapy and was prescribed a trial drug which he’s still on now, to help stabilise his condition. As well as leaving Archie with learning disabilities, the diagnosis means he now has limited use of his legs. Archie uses a wheelchair but keen to show the world that he won't let his disability stop him having fun, he decided to sign up and take on Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity’s abseil.

Archie said: “As well as raising money for the hospital which has helped me so much, I wanted to prove that I can still do fun things so when I saw the poster for the abseil at one of my hospital appointments, I signed up. I had to persuade my mum to let me do it but I’m so glad I did!  

“I was very nervous on the day but once I was over the edge, everyone started cheering for me and it felt really good. I’m proud of myself and really grateful to everyone who believed in me and supported me.”  

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Archie is a huge inspiration and watching him descend with so much support for him on the ground was truly humbling and heartwarming. 

Archie’s sheer determination to complete our abseil has proven he won’t let his condition or disability stop him and by fundraising for us in the process will help us do more for other sick kids, just like him.” 

Watch Archie in action: https://youtube.com/shorts/F13ZoQAZWek