A dad from West Bromwich has crossed the finish line for sick kids, after taking on a half marathon for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and raising £1,400 to say thank you for the lifesaving care his son, Sam, received as an infant. 

Over the years, Colin Maskell has regularly donated to hospital’s charity and even organised raffles at his workplace. It’s a place that’s close to his heart, as his son, Sam underwent heart surgery there twenty years ago.  

Sam was born with the congenital heart condition tetralogy of fallot, which is a combination of four defects which affect the blood flow through the heart. After being born, Sam was transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for treatment. His parents were told he would need to have surgery but would need to be a little older and stronger before it took place. At just two years old, Sam underwent an operation to place a stent in his heart and fix the problem at hand. Much to his family’s relief, it went successfully, and now Sam would just need to be monitored throughout his life to make sure nothing went awry. 

Colin experienced how terrifying it can be having a sick kid in hospital and recalls spending time in the hospital chapel, whilst Sam was being cared for. It was something that stayed with him, so initially Colin felt inspired to give back by signing up to donate monthly to the charity. He also set up a charity raffle every Christmas at his workplace, with goodies including chocolates, body care items and alcohol on offer 

After years of raising money for the charity this way, Colin had decided to take on something new. Colin had started ‘Couch to 5k to improve his overall health and wellness. After building up his stamina by joining local park runs, Colin felt ready to tackle a half marathon to raise even more funds. During the run, Colin found it tough, but just as tiredness kicked in, the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity cheer bus appeared around the corner, with fundraisers and volunteers cheering on the runners. It was just the push Colin needed to complete the race. 

Colin said: “Despite the scary nature of having a child in hospital, the care Sam received was amazing, which gave me some comfort. The children at the hospital are a true inspiration, bravely going through such difficult times. It really makes me proud to give and fundraise as much as I can.”  

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Being a parent to a sick child is so challenging and upsetting, but to channel it all into something so positive is an inspiration to us all. People who donate and fundraise for our charity regularly help us to plan ahead and ensure we can continue to offer the best treatment and experience to our patients. We’re so grateful to Colin.”