A fitness-mad dad has been named as this week’s charity champion after cycling the height of Mount Everest and raising over £2,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, following his son’s brain-surgery as a baby.

42-year-old Lewis Collins, from Hagley, made his ascent in the Clent Hills, where he took to his pushbike along with a group of friends, to ride the same hilly road until he had climbed a huge 8,848 metres uphill, the equivalent height of the highest mountain in the world. He wanted to challenge himself as a thank you to the hospital that saved his 10-year-old son Isaac’s life.

When Isaac was born he was diagnosed with a heart condition called Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage, and after an operation to correct the problem at a hospital in Leicester, his parents were allowed to take him home where he began to recover. However at just three-months-old, a visiting midwife noticed that Isaac’s head was larger than she would have expected for a baby of his size, a potential sign of Hydrocephalus, a build-up of excess fluid in the brain which left untreated can be fatal.

With no time to lose, Isaac was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery, with doctors inserting a drain into his skull to relieve the pressure that the fluid was putting on his brain. Lewis and his wife, Louise, were familiar with the hospital, as it’s where Louise works as a specialist paediatric diabetes nurse, but never in a million years did they expect to be paying a visit with their own son. The wait for Isaac to come out of surgery was agonising, but there was no doubt that he was in the best possible hands and, as baby Isaac came round and made a full recovery, Lewis and Louise felt relief wash over them.

Ten years later and in the midst of lockdown, Lewis found himself pondering his Everest challenge. This was the perfect opportunity give back to the hospital for the incredible care Isaac received all those years ago.

Lewis said: “It was absolutely terrifying to see Isaac rushed off into theatre, but experiencing that care first-hand as a parent just re-enforced what we already knew – Birmingham Children’s Hospital is just such a great place.

“I took on the Everest challenge to test my own ability and fitness, but it only felt right to use it as a way to raise money and thank the hospital for the fact that Isaac is here with us today – happy, healthy and living life to the full.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Louise – Isaac’s mum – knows only too well what fantastic work our colleagues do here, being one herself, and we really appreciate Lewis for taking his challenge to a whole new level! The funds he has raised will go towards helping us do more for brave patients just like Isaac, and their families too.”

If you would like to donate to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, click here.