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Dad gets on his bike for Great Ormond Street

The father of a toddler who needed life-saving surgery on his skull is getting on his bike to raise funds for the hospital where his son was treated.

Joe Hemsley-Rudd and his wife Anya had noticed a small bump at the back of their son’s head but were shocked to be told by doctors it was a sign something more serious could be wrong.

And they were devastated when their son Louis was later diagnosed with a condition that meant that his skull was not growing properly and could put pressure on his brain.

Joe, Louis and Anya Hemsley-Rudd (28955509)
Joe, Louis and Anya Hemsley-Rudd (28955509)

Joe said: “We didn’t know he had a problem. We noticed he had what we classed as a little bullet on the back of his head, but that is like most children when they are born and it just changes. But the problem was with Louis it never changed. Every time we asked about it people said don’t worry, it will be OK. We thought it would change with age because we’re not trained to recognise these things.

“Then, about a year ago, we had taken my son to Addenbrooke’s for an unrelated problem when one of the consultants picked it up and said ‘I’m not happy about this’.

“We were sent to the Portland Hospital to get it checked out and the referred to Great Ormond Street. He was diagnosed with a condition called craniosynostosis, which causes an elongated head and pressure on the brain.”

The condition can cause speech and language delay as well as raised intracranial pressure, as the skull does not provide enough space for the growing brain.

Joe, from Ely, said: “He was about 19 months old so you can imagine when you get that news, you ask what the risks are. We were told the risks are if you don’t do anything he could go blind, he could have intracranial pressure and in the worst case scenario he could die.

“He was operated on in May last year. It took eight or nine hours and they literally had to rebuild his skull. It was probably one of the worst experiences of my life. But we knew at Great Ormond Street we had two world renowned surgeons who were going to operate.

“Fast forward from may to now you wouldn’t even know he has had an operation except for his scar. He is a normal two and a half-year-old.”

Now Louis has to be monitored every six months until he is seven years old to make sure the pressure does not start building up in his skull.

“We’re extremely grateful for what the doctors have done,” said Joe, “and I decided I wanted to give something back.”

He has now secured a spot on the Great Ormond Street charity bike ride from London to Paris, which will take place over four days this July.

Joe, who works for Ely recycling business Ellgia, has already exceeded his £5,000 fundraising target for the GOSH Charity, and his new fundraising target is £15,000.

He is now training four times a week on his bike as well as taking part in a training session with some of the team from the Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club at the Prism Performance Centre at the Club’s Grange Road Stadium.

Joe said: “It’s been really hard work and I’ve even lost two stone during the training but this is the best way I could think of giving something back to Great Ormond Street.”

To sponsor Joe, visit joe300.co.uk.

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