A thankful dad, whose son received life-saving surgery and treatment for deadly bacterial meningitis, has raised over £3,500 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Lee Cartlidge, from Stoke-on-Trent, held a charity day with raffles, cake sales and prize auctions to raise the cash, but his fundraising journey began when he set up a Just Giving page as his 14-year-old son, Tommy, lay fighting for his life at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Less than a week before, Tommy, a keen, fit, and healthy boxer, had been training as normal with hulton abbey amateur boxing club, but then began to feel ill with headaches and sickness. Tommy’s symptoms began to worsen until he couldn’t move from his bed, eat, or speak. Fraught with worry, Lee called for an ambulance, but as they waited, Tommy began having seizures.

When the paramedics arrived, they took Tommy straight to resus at his local hospital, where he was put on a ventilator. Tommy’s temperature was dangerously high and doctors worked quickly, diagnosing bacterial meningitis, a severe infection in the brain, which in Tommy’s case had spread from his sinuses.

Scans showed that the infection had caused abscesses in Tommy’s brain and the decision was quickly made to transfer him to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for specialist treatment. Tommy arrived by blue lights and was rushed to theatre for an emergency operation to drain the infection and fluid from his brain.

It had all been such a whirlwind for the family, it was hard for them to comprehend what had happened. Although Tommy was not out of the woods, thankfully the operation was a success, and as Lee and Tommy’s mum, Zoe, watched the doctors and nurses treating their son as he began to recover, Lee decided he wanted to raise funds for the hospital to say thank you.

Lee set up an online fundraising page to collect donations from friends and family and within a week he had raised over £1,200 for the hospital’s charity, but over the next six weeks that Tommy spent in hospital, Lee was inspired to raise more.

Lee said: “I felt so helpless when Tommy was rushed to hospital. It all happened so quickly, with no time to sink in. Following his surgery and the weeks that followed, what was clear was how brilliant all the hospital staff were with Tommy. There isn’t enough money in the world to repay Birmingham Children’s Hospital for keeping him alive when he was so poorly, but I thought raising money for the hospital charity would be a start.

“The charity day we held was Tommy's Aunty Anna's idea, to celebrate how lucky we are to have Tommy. With help from Tommy's step-mum, Sam, and Zoe, we saw local businesses like ‘Sizzlers’ and ‘Crepzclub’ pull together, which was so heart-warming. They donated some incredible prizes to raffle and auction, including a signed Stoke City FC manager’s jacket and signed boxing glove from local star, Nathan Heaney. Everyone was so generous with the money they gave to support the hospital. I was so pleased to be able to give back this way.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Having a child so poorly in hospital is every parent’s worst nightmare, but it’s humbling to see the care and treatment given by our incredible doctors and nurses inspiring parents, like Lee, to fundraise.

“The incredible funds he’s raised will go towards helping us do more for other sick kids, just like his son, Tommy, by enabling us to continue providing the best treatment and care possible.”