A grateful dad has put his best foot forward and walked 100 miles in seven days, raising over £1,300 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, as a thank you for giving his six-year-old daughter a new lease of life.

Justin Cadwallader, from Kingswinford, laced up his walking boots to tackle the distance after being inspired by his daughter, Amelia, who has been a patient at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for most of her life.

Before Amelia was even born, her mum, Liz’s, 20-week scan revealed that Amelia’s heart hadn’t formed correctly. Doctors gently broke the news to Liz and Justin that their baby had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a congenital heart defect which affects blood flow through the heart.

As soon as Amelia was born, she was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and at five-days-old, she underwent her first operation to fix her poorly heart. The surgery was a success but Amelia’s parents always knew she would need more treatments in the future and, sadly, over the next couple of years, Amelia’s health deteriorated.

When she was three, Amelia was so poorly, she was put on the transplant waiting list to receive a new heart. Amelia’s condition made her extremely high risk and vulnerable during the pandemic, and she spent most of last year stuck in her bedroom on oxygen. However, Amelia was given a lifeline and in January 2021, she returned to Birmingham Children’s Hospital to undergo a Fontan procedure, to re-plumb her heart in a way that would allow oxygen to flow around her body better.

Thankfully, the operation was a success and Amelia recovered well, giving her a new found energy to play and even return to school with all of her friends. In awe of his daughter’s spirit and determination, Justin made it his mission to repay the doctors for giving Amelia another chance.

Justin said: “Amelia is a completely different little girl now she’s had her operation. She has so much more energy to play like a six-year-old should, and we’re so grateful for all the care and support she’s had from Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“I was out walking one day when I got lost, and accidentally walked eight miles. That’s when I thought I should set myself a challenge to walk even further, so I planned my routes around the local area and set off with my friend Richard for support. We gained a few blisters, and an ankle injury between us, but we’re so glad to have raised so much to say thank you.”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Justin set himself a tough challenge but with brave Amelia as his inspiration, we’re not surprised he made the distance, even with his sore feet!

“The funds he raised will go towards helping us do more for sick kids, just like Amelia.”