A 12-year-old girl has raised £1,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity after walking 30 miles, over three days, and camping en route, overnight.

Sophie White, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, joined her friends to tread the distance from Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds to Tysoe in Warwickshire. It was Sophie’s friend, Erin, who came up with the idea to raise money for charity, but she invited Sophie to join in to fundraise for her own cause, and Sophie chose Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, in memory of her baby brother Arthur.

Three days after Arthur was born in 2017, Sophie’s mum, Minnie, took him back to their local hospital for a routine health check. However, she had noticed something wasn’t quite right, as Arthur was very lethargic and not feeding. She mentioned her concerns to the nurse, and upon further investigation it was decided he should be admitted to the hospital’s paediatric ward. However, Arthur took a turn for the worse. He was deteriorating so fast that he was urgently transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital by the critical care ambulance service, KIDS/NTS.

KIDS/NTS, which is based at the Children’s Hospital, stands for Kids Intensive Care Decision Support and Neonatal Transfer Service, and uses special ambulances, or mobile intensive care units to provide specialist emergency transport for critically ill babies and children.

When Arthur arrived at the hospital, he was quickly diagnosed with a condition called Vein of Galen malformation. It’s a rare condition which meant that there was an abnormal connection between the arteries and the deep veins which carry blood to and from the heart and brain, and therefore his heart was working harder than it should. With such a rare diagnosis, doctors agreed that to give Arthur the best chance, he should once again be transferred to another paediatric centre, which specialised in treating this specific condition. Arthur was transported by KIDS/NTS once more and safely delivered to the next hospital where doctors tried their best to save him, but sadly at 10-days-old Arthur passed away.

Four years later, Sophie jumped at the opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the KIDS/NTS team who played such a huge part in trying to save Arthur’s life. She pulled on her hiking boots to join Erin and some other friends on their mighty trek. As the friends began their walk, rain began to fall and it didn’t stop but Sophie and her pals were in high spirits, plodding on inspired by their respective charities.

Minnie said: “We didn’t know much about KIDS/NTS until we had to use the service, and no doubt their work often gets overlooked, but the brilliant team did everything they could to get Arthur to the right places as quickly and safely as possible and our family will be forever grateful.  

“I’m so proud of Sophie for completing her challenge and raising awareness for this incredible team, even though the weather was so miserable that we had to come and collect the kids’ boots to dry overnight while they camped!”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “To lose a sibling at any age is heart-breaking but to hear how young Sophie has drawn upon her family’s experience to fundraise for our charity is so humbling.

“The money Sophie has raised for our KIDS/NTS team will help them to ensure that newborn, small babies and children requiring intensive care and emergency treatment, can continue to be transferred to the right place, at the right time for the right treatment.”