Crawley mum’s marathon effort for hospital which saved son

Sharon Gilroy ran the London Marathon to raise money for the Neo-Natak Unit which saved her son's life. Son Joseph is now 11. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150205-212908001
Sharon Gilroy ran the London Marathon to raise money for the Neo-Natak Unit which saved her son's life. Son Joseph is now 11. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150205-212908001

A mum has completed the London Marathon to raise money for the hospital which saved her son’s life.

Sharon Gilroy, of Broadfield, admitted she couldn’t run to the end of her street before she started training for the race, which took place on April 26.

Her determination, though, saw her finish in a respectable five hours 32 minutes, and she hopes to beat her £800 fundraising target for First Touch, the charity of the St George’s Hospital Neo Natal Unit.

When Sharon fell pregnant in 2003, she and her husband, Lee, were overjoyed. Their world shattered, though, when she began to experience labour pains at 27 weeks and they were told their baby had a large tumour on one of his kidneys.

The next five weeks saw Sharon either hospitalised at St George’s or travelling up every few days for tests and scans.

She said: “The tumour was growing faster than our tiny baby and we were told that he was not going to survive and there was little they could do to save him.

“We were heartbroken and determined to fight on. All the while his little heart was beating there was hope.”

Things got worse when doctors realised the baby was in even more trouble and was having heart attacks.

On December 3 2003, Sharon was given an emergency C-section and Joseph was born, weighing in at 3.5 pounds – but most of that was tumour.

Within 48 hours the tot had undergone a blood transfusion and surgery to remove the tumour, which had been so large it was crushing his organs.

Sharon and Lee waited with their family while Joseph fought for his life. Sharon said: “It was the longest two-and-a-half hours of our lives.

“In walked the surgeon Mr Holmes – my hero – he came in and smiled and said it was a tricky operation and he has removed the tumour and Joseph will be OK.

“Words can’t explain how we felt.”

After seven weeks in hospital, Sharon and Lee took Joseph home, weighing a much healthier four pounds.

He is now a lively 11-year-old, who has just passed his brown/black belt at kung fu, and is looking forward to starting at Holy Trinity School in September.

He and his dad saw Sharon off at the start of the marathon, gave her a much-needed cuddle at the 13-mile mark and were there to greet her at the end.

Sharon, who works at Manor Green Primary School, said: “Today we have a boy who battled hard to be here and he enjoys his life to the full with scouts, kung fu and of course his PlayStation. We want to thank the people that gave us the best gift in the world. They helped me to be a mummy.”