A grateful dad has taken on a gruelling 100km trek which raised over £14,800 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, as a thank you for his little boy’s life-saving kidney transplant. 

Inspired by seven-year-old Rory, who has been cared for at Birmingham Children’s Hospital since he was just one-month-old, dad Jonathan Lynch teamed up with nine of his pals to tackle the Peak District Ultra Challenge, a 100 km tough figure of eight route through Derbyshire.

Rory was born with a rare condition called Congenital Nephrotic Syndrome which meant his kidneys were leaking large amounts of protein into his urine, leaving him prone to infection. The first 18 months of Rory’s life were spent almost entirely at the hospital, with multiple stays on Intensive Care and seven blood transfusions and procedures, including one to remove one of his kidneys.

It was a tremendously difficult time for Jonathan and his family but after nearly two years, Rory was finally discharged and able to return home to be with his older brother, Liam. The family were thrilled to be back together.

As an outpatient Rory still required continual trips to the hospital for dialysis treatment, to help filter his blood in place of his kidneys.

By the time he was four-years-old, Rory was finally strong enough to have a kidney transplant, with his donor kidney coming from none other than his own dad, Jonathan. It was a traumatic ordeal for Jonathan, who had to recover in another hospital while Rory received the life-saving transplant surgery. But thankfully, Rory bounced back and the family were soon reunited at home once again.

Now, three years after receiving the most precious gift his dad could have given him, Rory is thriving. He’s still under the care of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and may need further treatment in the future but, Jonathan and his family couldn’t be more grateful to the doctors and nurses that saved Rory’s life.

To say thank you, Jonathan rounded up pals James, Anthony, Jamie, Mark, Matt, Sean, Shaun, Simon and Tim, to join him in taking on the 100km walk. The group of mates left the starting point at 8am in the morning, walking through the day and into the night. The blisters from their walking boots became unbearable but they pushed through and at 10am the following morning, all the pain had been worth it as they crossed the finish line and saw their enormous fundraising total for the hospital.

Jonathan said: “We will be forever thankful to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for its support during the most stressful time in our lives, not only for Rory but our whole family. All the nurses, doctors, consultants and playworkers do an amazing job on a daily basis – it’s them that make the hospital so special.

“While we did train for our monumental challenge, nothing could have quite prepared us for the blisters and fatigue of walking for 26 hours straight. It was absolutely brutal but we couldn’t have been more proud as we crossed the finish line.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Having a child in hospital can be a stressful experience and having to put himself through surgery too to help his son must have made the situation even harder for Jonathan and his family.

“We’re so thankful to Jonathan and his supportive friends. The impressive challenge they took on for our hospital raised a phenomenal amount, which will go on to help us do more for countless sick kids just like Rory.”