A thankful mum has achieved a new personal best after running a marathon and raising over £1,200 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity after doctors saved her little girl’s life.

Claire Lojko ran the 26.2 mile distance from her home in Stourport-on-Severn to Kinver and back again, to say thank you to the hospital where her daughter Megan underwent a life-saving operation when she was just two-days-old.

After a complicated pregnancy, Claire’s baby girl was delivered by emergency c-section at her local hospital but to her horror, not long after she was born, Megan suddenly stopped breathing. Doctors were there to help, and quickly diagnosed Megan with Tracheosophogal Fistula, a rare condition that had been missed during the pregnancy. It meant that Megan’s oesophagus was connected to her trachea (or windpipe), rather than her stomach, making it very difficult for her to breathe and impossible to feed.

At just six-hours-old, Megan was blue-lighted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for specialist care, but having just undergone a caesarean, Claire was unable to leave with her. A day later however, Claire was well enough to get to the hospital just in time to see her baby heading to theatre for a lifesaving operation. It was an excruciating wait for Claire, as the surgeons battled to repair Megan’s tiny trachea and oesophagus, but after five gruelling hours, Megan was able to breathe properly again.

Megan stayed at the hospital for five weeks while she recovered and during that time Claire’s eyes were opened to the world class care being delivered around her, not only to patients like Megan, but to parents and families too. Thankfully, now seven-years-old, Megan is thriving, but the experience stayed with Claire, inspiring her to take on her marathon challenge.

Claire said: “Seeing Megan rushed to theatre and then waiting for her to emerge was the worst experience of my life, and I can’t thank the team at Birmingham Children’s Hospital enough for making sure that my little girl is here today.

“I’d never run a full marathon before so I’m very proud of myself, especially finishing the distance in just under five hours which I thought was a fitting thank you for Megan’s five-hour surgery.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “After a scary start to life and a major operation at such a young age, it’s fantastic to hear that Megan is doing well. The way Claire turned what must have been a traumatic experience into a force for good is just inspiring and the funds she raised will go on to help us do more for many other sick kids, just like Megan.”

If you’ve been inspired by Claire's story and would like to donate to our urgent COVID-19 Appeal, you can do so here.