Two Doncaster mums join forces to raise hospital funds

Sheffield Children's Hospital Jaycob and Karmen
Sheffield Children's Hospital Jaycob and Karmen

Two grateful Doncaster mums have praised hero medics who have transformed their children’s lives.

It comes after doctors at Sheffield Children’s Hospital acted to save little Jaycob Kynaston from a life-threatening brain condition, and transformed the life of teenager Karmen Parkes by operating to correct a serious spinal problem.

Sheffield Children's Hospital Jaycob and Karmen

Sheffield Children's Hospital Jaycob and Karmen

Both mums joined forces at the weekend to raise money for the hospital where their youngsters were treated last year.

Katherine Parkes, aged 37, of Woodlands, and Carlene Kynaston, aged 33, of Toll Bar, in Doncaster, held a race night at Balby Rhino (Balby Rec) on Balby Road on Saturday, raising money for The Children’s Hospital Charity to say thanks for the care their children have received at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Balby Rhinos owner, Wayne Morling, offered the venue for free for the event, and has helped Katherine and Carlene with their fundraising.

Carlene’s baby son, Jaycob, was taken ill during an already-difficult time for the family. It was while Carlene herself was battling breast cancer.

“He took very poorly all of a sudden when he was six months old,” said Carlene, who marks one year since her last chemotherapy treatment this month.

“Doctors at Doncaster Royal Infirmary noticed his head was very big, and they thought it was meningitis.

“They gave him a lumber puncture and sent him to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for specialist care.”

Doctors at Sheffield Children’s Hospital noticed a massive amount of fluid on young Jaycob’s brain, and operated to try and drain it off.

But 24 hours later, the fluid had built up so much again that it burst his stitches and he was rushed back to theatre. When, 48 hours later, the stitches were burst again, doctors decided the only option was to fit a lifelong shunt into his brain.

“By this point he was a very poorly boy,” said Carlene.

“It was on Boxing Day, and I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer so I was having chemotherapy while he was fighting for his life.

“He also got bronchiolitis, which meant I was unable to visit him because of my lower immunity during my own treatment. That was so hard – it was heartbreaking to not be able to see him. I didn’t know how we were going to get through it. But the doctors and nurses on S2 were amazing – they knew my condition and did everything they could to help us.”

Jaycob stayed on S2 for a month before he was sent home, and like Carmen, has gone from strength to strength. Carlene is now in remission and wants to give back to Sheffield Children’s Hospital for saving Jacob’s life.

“Every day is a bonus now” she said. “We know now that life is always unexpected, it can change in an instant.”

Katherine’s daughter Karmen was taken into the hospital while Jaycob was recovering from surgery.

Karmen, 13, was referred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital in April 2016 after Katherine noticed her shoulder was protruding, looked dislocated and she was short of breath. There she was diagnosed with a severe double curve of the spine – meaning it was shaped like an ‘S’ – and told it would get worse with age.

“Because she is growing it would have gotten more and more obvious” said Katherine. “They told us it was very severe for her age, and the only option was to have surgery. It had also been squashing her lung, causing her breathing problems.”

Karmen underwent a six hour spinal fusion operation, where rods are attached to the curved part of the backbone and the spine is straightened. Small pieces of bone are then put over the spine. The bone pieces will grow together with the spinal bone, fusing it into the proper position.

Just two days after her operation, Karmen was on her feet and taking small steps, and five days later she was allowed home.

“The hospital is just a fantastic place,” said Katherine, whose daughter Karmen had a major spinal operation in September last year. “Everything about it is brilliant, and we wanted to give something back.”

For more information on The Children’s Hospital Charity visit The Children’s Hospital Charity website.

The event raised £2,200 on the night with more still coming in.

“We had a lot of people coming in afterwards saying what a great night it was and what a fantastic cause it was for,” said Katherine.