Childhood illness inspired Emma to become a nurse

Emma will be taking on the Virtual Stampede
Emma will be taking on the Virtual Stampede
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You’d think Emma Green would have had enough of hospitals.

After 12 years of treatment, and more than 30 operations at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, most people would be ready to run in the opposite direction.

But after being inspired by the staff that looked after her as a child, all of Emma’s running these days is being done to benefit the hospital where she works as a nurse.

“I’ve got a condition called proximal femoral focal deficiency,” said 23-year-old Emma, who returned to the hospital last October as a member of staff after completing her training at York University

“It basically means that I was born with one leg much longer than the other and I started treatment to lengthen my left leg when I was four years-old.

“The pain of having a leg lengthened isn’t just physical – it’s also emotional because you have to spend a lot of time with a huge frame on your leg and go through so many operations. I needed a lot of rehabilitation and physiotherapy after my surgeries to strengthen my knee and hip muscles.”

Emma now works as a nurse on the S3 ward, a department which looks after children with a wide range of conditions, supporting them and their families with rehabilitation after major surgeries. And this month, she will take on the hospital’s Virtual Stampede fundraiser, joining hundreds of people across the city who’ve committed to walking and swimming 60km throughout September. This stampede will raise money for the physiotherapy department, which played a huge role in Emma’s recovery during her time at the hospital, hopefully creating two physiotherapy rooms in the new wing, which will be full of specialist equipment and allow for greater privacy for patients.

Emma added: “After surgery, just trying to get walking again is incredibly difficult. Things like moving out of bed and getting onto a chair, which you just take for granted normally, become really painful.

“The nurses and physios that looked after me inspired me to want to do the same for other children. They were a big part of my life growing up and I wouldn’t have recovered in the same way or be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. Getting the opportunity to come back to work at Sheffield Children’s Hospital was a dream come true.

“It’s really important that we get this equipment for the new wing of the hospital. At the moment most physiotherapy takes place at the bedside or in corridors. It’s difficult because there’s not much space – which is especially challenging if you’re helping a child to stand up on crutches or get into a wheelchair for the first time.

“When you’re going through physio you’re trying to deal with the pain but you also know you’ve got to get through the exercises themselves before you can get yourself home. Giving children more space and privacy would be such a help.

“My family always used to tell me that I should be a nurse. But it wasn’t until I was discharged that I really considered it. I realised I actually missed the hospital in a weird kind of way! After everything I experienced there, I felt like I wanted to give something back and make a difference to other kids.”

Visit Join the Stampede to find out more about the stampede.