Rikki and Layla Small say their son Theodore would not be the happy and healthy three-year-old boy that he is without the care he received at Lincoln County Hospital.Theo small in Hospital

Theodore was born 10 weeks early on Saturday 4 January 2020, weighing just 3lb and 1oz - less than one and a 
half bags of sugar. Rikki said: “That whole period is still a bit of a blur in my memory. Theodore was so small and needed help with his breathing initially. The care he received on the neonatal unit at Lincoln County Hospital was simply amazing.”

Theodore was in hospital for 39 days and during that time the family drove 4,300 miles going back and forth to the hospital from their home in Owmby-by-Spital. The couple were also taking care of their two older children Paris (now aged eight) and Skylar (now aged six).

Once Theodore was strong enough he was allowed to go home.

Rikki added: “We got Theodore home and then he just stopped breathing. We called the emergency services and I performed CPR until the LIVES team arrived and then the ambulance. They were amazing and took Theodore to the Emergency Department at Lincoln County Hospital. He looked so tiny on the adult bed, but the team were simply amazing.”

Once he was stabilised, Theodore was transferred for specialist care in Nottingham. After a couple of weeks he returned to Lincoln where he spent another week until he was allowed to go home.

Rikki said: “It was the most frightening experience of my life. But I had to be strong for Theodore and for Layla. We still don’t know why Theo stopped breathing. It might be that he had an infection."

“I will be forever be grateful to everyone involved in Theodore’s care and feel like I will never be able to thank them enough for whatRikki and Theo on a beach they have given us. Theodore is such a happy and healthy boy thanks to all of their care and support. He is at pre-school, loves football and is just perfect.”

Rikki will be supported by Layla, Paris, Skylar, Theodore and youngest child Greyson (aged two) as he prepares and completes the Nottingham Robin Hood Half Marathon on Sunday 24 September.

He admits that he isn’t the fittest, but is determined to complete the challenge in aid of the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity.

Rikki added: “I know that is it going to be tough and will hurt, but it will be 100 per cent worth it as it will help to show just how thankful we are.”

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity Fundraiser, Gary Burr, added: “Every penny raised by Rikki will be used to directly support patients and staff.

“We have amazing colleagues in our hospitals and for them to hear that patients and families are showing their appreciation in this way will mean so much to them. Donations like this really do make a difference, but the biggest reward of all is hearing how well Theodore is doing.”

For more information about Rikki’s challenge and to make a donation, please visit Rikki Small is fundraising for United Lincolnshire Hospitals Charity (justgiving.com)

Rikki, Layla with their children