A family from Rowley Regis have hit the back of the net with their fundraising after hosting a charity football match, raffle and disco, and raising over £4,500 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, as thanks for their 10-year-old son’s life-saving treatment.

Parents, Jessica and Matthew Thompson organised the match, which took place on the pitch at Coldlands Colts FC, but the planning began when their 10-year-old son, Vinnie, lay in a critical condition on Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).

Vinnie was born with a condition called hypolastic left heart syndrome, which mean the left side of his heart hadn’t formed correctly. At just five days old Vinnie was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and within days he was in theatre, receiving the first of three major open-heart surgeries to reconstruct his tiny heart.

Through all three of his surgeries and other keyhole procedures, Vinnie amazed his parents and doctors with his speedy recoveries and, although he continued to be monitored in the years that followed, Vinnie lived a normal, active life.  That was until one weekend last year, when he went into spontaneous cardiac arrest while staying with his grandparents.

Vinnie’s grandad, Wayne, sprang into action and bravely performed CPR until an ambulance arrived. The paramedics took over to give Vinnie the treatment he needed before blue-lighting him to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Jessica and Matthew rushed back from a weekend away to be with Vinnie, who, doctors ascertained would need an implantable defibrillator fitted in his chest.

Vinnie spent nearly six weeks on the hospital’s PICU recovering from his ordeal and it was then his grateful parents decided they’d fundraise for the hospital and set the wheels in motion. Vinnie also received a special visit from Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martínez, who brought him a brand-new shirt after the police officer who attended his cardiac event made the arrangements.

Vinnie’s dad, Matthew, rounded up his friends for his charity match, resulting in a team of players from the West Midlands versus a team from the East Midlands. Jessica organised a disco to turn the match into an all-day event and maximise their fundraising, securing incredible raffle prizes such as return flights to New York, a hotel stay, gift vouchers and family tickets to top attractions.

Jessica said: “Vinnie’s cardiac arrest came completely out of the blue and we later found out it had nothing to do with his pre-existing condition. We were absolutely devastated but so grateful to be under the fantastic care of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and that Vinnie made a full recovery.

“Our charity day was such a blast. We’re proud to say the West Midlands Team won the match but regardless, we’re so thankful to everyone who came along, supported and gave so generously to help us say the biggest thank you for saving Vinnie’s life.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “After years of Vinnie’s good health, it must have been a terrible shock to be back in hospital, especially in such traumatic circumstances but we’re so glad to hear that Vinnie’s back to his usual self.

“Vinnie’s ordeal inspired some fantastic fundraising and the incredible amount the Thompson family raised at their football game, disco and raffle will go towards helping us do more for the 90,000 kids just like him, who get treated at our hospital every year.”