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Archie Colman raised more than £1,200 for Chestnut House

Big brother Archie Colman shared in all his family’s anxieties while they waited for weeks to see whether his little sister would survive.

BATTLE: Little Ellie shortly after being born.
BATTLE: Little Ellie shortly after being born.

Ellie did not breathe for 27 minutes after she was born and needed three days of specialist life-saving treatment.

“Archie found this time very difficult as he was only six when Ellie was born and he knew something was wrong,” said mum Jessica.

“He saw his baby sister with so many wires and tubes coming out of her, which was very scary for him.”

While the Shelfanger family waited for six anxious weeks while Ellie was being treated in a Cambridge hospital, they were provided with home-from-home accommodation by the Sick Children’s Trust, so they could be near her all the time.

And Archie, who is now eight years old, found a way of thanking the trust by taking part in the Norwich Inflatable 5km run – raising more than £1,200 in the process.

HE DID IT: Archie Colman raised more than £1,200 after completing the run.
HE DID IT: Archie Colman raised more than £1,200 after completing the run.

Mrs Colman was 36 weeks pregnant with Ellie when she realised the baby had stopped kicking. Husband Steve drove her to West Suffolk Hospital, where she was born suffering from perinatal asphyxia and doctors battled to establish an airway.

Once she was breathing, Ellie was transferred to the The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge for specialist cooling therapy to reduce the risk of brain damage.

Mrs Colman, who is Archie’s step-mum, said: “As Steve and Ellie left for Cambridge, I had to deal with the horrible reality that I might not see my daughter again.

“The doctors thought it was unlikely that Ellie would survive for two days.”

Mrs Colman was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, also in Cambridge, to be near Ellie and, when she was discharged, moved into Chestnut House, one of 10 homes the trust uses to support families with seriously ill children.

“Having a home-from-home at Chestnut House, where there was a kitchen, dining and living room, was so important as it meant Archie could see us without having to be on the hospital ward and we could even make him something to eat and watch TV together.”

Mrs Colman, who has raised £300 herself for the trust, added: “We’re so proud of Archie and his fundraising.

“On the day, his dad, nan and aunties took part in the run as we have all wanted to raise money and awareness for the charity that helped us during our time of need.

“Ellie is now thriving and enjoyed cheering Archie on in her Sick Children’s Trust T-shirt, which turned out to be more of a dress.”

Abi Abdel-aal, the Chestnut House manager, said it cost the trust, which relies entirely on voluntary donations, £30 to support a family for a night. “We can’t thank Archie enough for taking on this challenge and raising so much money. He should feel very proud of himself.”

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