Five-year old Harry Talbot, from Newcastle-Under-Lyme, and his kind-hearted sister, have launched their own Christmas appeal, raising over £3,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where Harry is a patient, having received more than three life-saving operations to date, including one to mend his brain and skull.

Harry has spent his whole life in and out of hospital. He was first rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital at just two-hours-old. Two days later, he had his first major operation when doctors performed surgery to his stomach and bowel, which weren’t connected. The surgery was successful but other tests showed that Harry also had Atrioventricular Septal Defect – holes in his heart and a leaking valve – that would need to be fixed when he was a little older, and Craniosynostosis, which meant that his skull had fused incorrectly, leaving little room for his brain to grow.

When Harry was 11-months-old, he underwent an operation to fix his Craniosynostosis, which involved opening his skull and piecing it back together so it could grow as he did. This was followed three years later with his open-heart surgery. However, at the same time, an in-depth eye test showed a change to his optic nerve. Knowing this could be a sign of something more serious, doctors ordered more tests and scans and as they feared, it revealed that Harry had developed a Chiari – his brain was once again running out of room and was starting to put pressure on his spinal cord, obstructing the flow of brain fluid. It was another massive blow to the family.

Doctors rushed Harry back into theatre to re-open the zig-zag scar from his previous surgery and relieve the pressure on is brain. This time, they inserted metal rods called distractors, which Harry’s parents would be able to turn every day in order to help his skull. Harry returned home just four days later, but not long after, he ran into major complications as fluid began leaking from the rods in his head. Harry once again went in for emergency surgery, but thankfully after this last traumatic ordeal, Harry returned home in November to recover with his family.

This last visit prompted the family to consider all of the patients and families they had befriended along the way, who wouldn’t be making it home in time for Christmas. Over the years, Harry’s parents Sarah and Andy have made it their mission to show their gratitude to the hospital by fundraising. But this time it was Harry and his proud big sister Lily’s idea to set up a JustGiving page to raise funds for the hospital charity’s 2020 Christmas Appeal, to help make the festive period magical for patients who are too poorly to be at home.

Harry’s mum, Sarah, said: “Birmingham Children’s Hospital is like a second home to our family and words simply aren’t enough to thank the hospital for the fantastic care Harry has and will continue to receive.

“Bearing in mind that it’s been a tough year, we set our fundraising target and expectations low, so we’re absolutely over the moon to have raised so much and hope it will make a difference for patients and families experiencing Christmas in hospital.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Harry has been through so much in his five years and seeing their little boy undergo so many invasive procedures must have been so distressing for his family, so we’re incredibly grateful to this remarkable family for their compassion for others and their amazing support over the years.

“The money Harry and Lily’s appeal raised for us will help us do more to make Christmas magical for our brave patients just like Harry, who might not be well enough to spend it at home.”

If you would like to donate to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity’s 2020 Christmas Appeal, visit or call 0121 333 8506.