Rotherham family take on the virtual stampede for two year-old Grace

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When it comes to sport, a competitive nature can take you a long way. In the case of Dave Sidwell and his family, it’s taken them right to the top of The Children’s Hospital Charity’s Virtual Stampede team fundraiser leader board.

To complete the challenge, participants will walk, run, swim or cycle a total of 60km throughout the month of September, all to raise vital funds for two new physiotherapy rooms in the new wing of Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The family from Rotherham have so far been sponsored £480 to complete the challenge and are top of the group fundraising leader board. But for them, it’s not just the other teams they’ll be keeping an eye on.

“For us the Virtual Stampede has two levels of competition,” said Dave. “The first is between the various teams that are participating but the second is between my family members. We’re going to see who can cover the furthest distance throughout the month. My wife and my brother-in-law are probably the fittest in the team so my money’s on them but I’m definitely going to try and give them a run for their money!”

“Our team name, Hippy Baby, was inspired by my two year-old daughter Grace. Not long after her first birthday we realised that she was walking with a limp. We were referred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital where she was diagnosed with DDH – Developmental dysplasia of the hip.”

“In Grace’s case the condition only affected her left leg – her femur had come out of the hip socket, which hadn’t developed correctly and was dislocated. Without treatment, the condition would have led to health problems ongoing from her teenage years including hip pain, development of a limp and osteoarthritis.”

“She had to go through a pretty big operation for a toddler and then had to wear a Spica cast for twelve weeks. The Spica cast meant Grace went from being a very active toddler to essentially being immobilised for three months. Everybody says that kids are resilient but Grace really proved that with the way she dealt with it all.”

“She’s well on her way to catching up with other children her age now. She’s not as fast but she chases after them and she’s getting there! She’s too little to be joining in with the stampede fun but she’ll be supporting her daddy and the rest of the team.”

“One of the biggest challenges for me, and I’m sure every parent that goes into the hospital, was that you have to hand over the care of the most precious thing in your world to someone else. But at Sheffield Children’s Hospital everyone from the nurses to the registrars inspires you with confidence so it makes it that little bit easier. They were fabulous.”

“At the start of this week we were top of the leader board but in a way I hope that we get beaten because that would mean that a lot of money had been raised for The Children’s Hospital Charity and that’s what this is all about! In addition, we are hoping that by taking part we can raise awareness of DDH and its symptoms so that other families can identify the condition in their children and seek the appropriate care at the earliest opportunity.”

Caitlin Hallatt, Community Fundraising Assistant from The Children’s Hospital Charity said, “Team Hippy Baby have been doing so well with their fundraising and we’re really glad that they decided to join our herd of Virtual Stampeders! Their determination to go beyond 60km just shows that the Stampede challenge really is what you make of it. We can’t wait to see how they get on.”

The funds raised through the Virtual Stampede will aid The Children’s Hospital Charity’s Make it Better new wing appeal, creating two new physiotherapy rooms with much needed specialist equipment. This will make a huge difference to the current rehabilitation which sometimes takes place at the bedside, in a corridor or on the stairs.

Head to www.virtualstampede.everydayhero.com/uk/ if you want to join the Virtual Stampede or sponsor team Hippy Baby.