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 STOKE-ON-TRENT, NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME, STAFFORDSHIRE MOORLANDS, SOUTH CHESHIRE

JCB ENGINEER GEARS UP FOR RUNNING CHALLENGE TO THANK SON’S LIFE-SAVING MEDICS


A JCB ENGINEER is determined to go far more than the extra mile to say thank you to hospital staff who saved his son’s life.


Andrew Johnson, 45, of Alton, is planning to pound the streets of Stoke-on-Trent at this summer’s The Potters ‘Arf marathon to raise funds for Manchester Children’s Hospital where his six-year-old son Charlie was treated for a series of life-threatening strokes.


Now, with Charlie back at school and full of life, Andrew has set his sights on raising £1,500 as a way for the family to say thank you to medics who successfully treated the rare condition, Bow Hunter’s Syndrome.


Senior Development Engineer Andrew launched his fundraising bid at JCB’s World Headquarters, Rocester, with help from Charlie, purchasing manager mum Julia, 43, and nine-year-old big sister Isabella, when they got behind the wheel of a JCB Loadall.


Andrew explained: “Just after his fifth birthday, last February, Charlie was rushed to hospital and scans showed he had suffered a stroke which on investigation turned out to be his third - the previous two were silent so went unnoticed. It affected his mobility, and he was very poorly.


“He was allowed home fairly quickly and made a good recovery but then in April he suffered another two strokes which affected his balance and speech, and the Manchester doctors diagnosed him with a very rare condition in children called Bow Hunter’s Syndrome where the neck vertebrae trap an artery causing blood clots.


“At the beginning of June, he had surgery to fuse the top two vertebrae in his neck which stops them trapping the artery and since then he’s been doing brilliantly well. He went back to school in September at St Peter’s in Alton, and Isabella also goes there so she looks out for him a lot. He’s back playing football with his friends and loves riding his bike and having swimming lessons.


“While Charlie was so poorly, we just got by and didn’t really have time to think about how awful everything was but looking back Julia and I have been overwhelmed by the treatment and care the hospital gave Charlie and their tireless efforts to diagnose and treat him.


“At the hospital there is a wall commemorating all the people who have raised funds and while Charlie was having his last MRI scan, I sat reading it and thought I really wanted to give something back too. The staff have been amazing and it’s impossible to put into words how grateful we are for what they have done.”


“Looking back at how ill Charlie was it is incredible to see him now running around just like his friends. He does have help to catch up at school and some speech therapy too, but beyond that he is doing great.”


Having run The Potters ‘Arf three times before, Andrew has now set his sights on revisiting the gruelling thirteen-miler on Sunday, June 11th. He added: “It was 2016 when I last ran it and I’m a couple of stones heavier now. I’m in training with Alton Runners Club and I’m determined to get round and hopefully hit my £1,500 target.”


Andrew has set up a Just Giving page for anyone who wishes to sponsor him and help raise funds for The Manchester Children’s Hospital, at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/charliejohnson22



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