Mum runs marathon to raise money for Evelina – the hospital which saved her son’s life

A mum pounded the pavement for 26.2 miles to raise money for the hospital that saved her son’s life.

Harikesh Halai was referred to Evelina London Children’s Hospital to be monitored closely for a rare heart defect, shortly after he was born in January 2019.

Harikesh’s mum, Revti, discovered at her 15-week pregnancy scan that he had an atrioventricular septal heart defect (ASVD) which would eventually require major open heart surgery.

Children born with ASVD have holes between the chambers of the right and left sides of the heart, and the valves that control the flow of blood between these chambers may not be formed correctly.

The stress on the heart can cause babies with AVSD to develop signs of heart failure, such as rapid breathing, feeding problems, slow weight gain and low energy.

Revti, from Welling, said: “We were expecting Harikesh to have the surgery when he was around six months old, but it was bought forward because his heart was working too hard. The doctor compared his struggle to that of a person trying to run and drink at the same time.”

At just two months old, Harikesh had an operation at Evelina London to repair his heart, which took more than five hours.

Revti, 38, said: “The first sight of our son following his surgery was a shock, he didn’t look like himself.

“He was swollen, covered with tubes and connected to numerous machines. The first 24 hours were critical in determining how he would recover. We were helpless and all we could do was wait.

“To our amazement, the following day 60 per cent of the tubes he was connected to were removed, and within a couple of days he was moved out of intensive care to the children’s ward.

“My son’s strength is an inspiration to us every day, he has been through so much at such a young age and fought so hard to regain his health.”

Harikesh Halai, his mum Revti, and brother Keyur, 5

A few months later, Revti signed up for the Virgin Money London Marathon to support Evelina London.

Although the event was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Revti took on the challenge anyway.

She ran the 26.2 miles around her local area in five hours and nine minutes, and plans to take part in the iconic London event next year.

The mother-of-two said: “Without these amazing professionals our son’s story would have been a very different one. Thank you will never be enough.”

So far, Revti has raised more than £6,200 for Evelina London. To support her fundraising, click here.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity raises money for big things and small touches that make our life-saving care even better and help our patients and their families feel really looked after. For more information on fundraising visit our website here.

Pictured top: Harikesh Halai

 


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