A young girl was born with a rare condition which nearly saw her drown in her own SALIVA.
Tiny Isabelle Golding’s parents spotted there was something wrong when they saw she was bubbling around the mouth.
The infant was rushed to hospital, where doctors discovered she needed emergency surgery for her life-threatening illness.
Her parents, Tom and Rebecca, noticed their newborn daughter was lethargic, but were unaware she was drowning in her own saliva and milk.
Now Tom is set to run the London Marathon in aid of the hospital which saved her life.
The couple, from Sidcup in south east London, took their one-day-old daughter to their local hospital, where an X-ray revealed she had trache-oesophageal fistula and oesophageal atresia.
These rare birth defects affect a baby’s oesophagus (food pipe) and trachea (airway) and can be life-threatening.
Rebecca, 32, said: “It was horrific and every parent’s worst nightmare.
“We didn’t know it at the time, but Isabelle was becoming really weak because she hadn’t slept and milk and saliva was going straight to her lungs, which meant she was basically drowning.
“Doctors initially thought it could be sepsis or pneumonia, but once the X-ray confirmed the rare condition we were told she’d need major surgery by a specialist surgeon.”
Isabelle was rushed to the paediatric intensive care unit at Evelina London Children’s Hospital by the South Thames Retrieval Service.
She was put on a ventilator and had emergency surgery the following day.
Rebecca, a science teacher, said: “To look at Isabelle you would never know there is something wrong but it’s been a very bumpy road.
“She’s been in and out of hospital and will need further surgery because her oesophagus still isn’t working properly.
“I do have days where I feel sad for her because so much is still unknown, but I know it could have been a lot worse and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone at Evelina London because she wouldn’t be here today without them.
“She’s probably cost the hospital hundreds of thousands of pounds so this is our way of giving something back.”
Tom is raising money for Evelina London by taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 28 April – which falls on Isabelle’s first birthday.
Tom, a PE teacher, said: “It goes without saying that our story could have had a very different ending if it wasn’t for the unbelievable treatment and care that Isabelle continues to receive at Evelina London – every single member of staff at that hospital is an angel in disguise.
“Our story is just one of many that happen every single day so every penny that is donated will help other parents and children get through some of their worst days.
“This is not only a great way for us to celebrate Isabelle’s first birthday, but also an opportunity to mark Evelina London’s 150th anniversary.”
Rebecca originally signed up for the London Marathon but transferred her place to Tom when the couple found out they were expecting their second child.
Tom, 29, who has been training three times a week, said: “To be honest I’m dreading it because, although I love sport, I don’t like long distance running.
“But I’m taking it very seriously and my aim is to beat my friend’s time from last year.”
Iain Yardley, a consultant paediatric and neonatal surgeon, said: “Isabelle was very sick when she arrived at Evelina London.
“Babies born with these rare birth defects are not able to swallow safely, if at all, without complex life-saving surgery.
“A huge team of specialists have been involved in Isabelle’s treatment and we’ll continue caring for her until she’s 18 years old.
“Evelina London has changed the lives of children and young people for 150 years.
“It’s thanks to fundraisers like Tom and Rebecca that we’re able to continue caring for the sickest children, with the most complex conditions, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
To help Tom and Rebecca reach their fundraising target, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RebeccaGolding1