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Thetford mum does skydive for The Sick Children’s Trust after support when son had bleed on the brain





A Thetford mum has complete a 10,000ft skydive for a charity that gave her a ‘home from home’ after her son was rushed to hospital with a bleed on the brain.

Leonie Rabey took to the Cambridgeshire skies on Saturday, reaching speeds of up to 120mph, for The Sick Children’s Trust’s Acorn House.

The service provides families with a free place to stay just minutes away from their child’s hospital bedside and the mother needed that support in February last year – when her son Max was rushed to hospital.

Leonie with Max in hospital. Picture: Submitted
Leonie with Max in hospital. Picture: Submitted

The 30-year-old said: “He was taken to West Suffolk Hospital’s accident and emergency department in Bury St Edmunds, where he was diagnosed with a brain bleed.

“He was having seizures and needing urgent specialist care and after he was placed on a ventilator he was rushed to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge at 3am in the morning.”

There he was kept for five days with the potentially life-threatening condition and throughout his time, Leonie and her younger sister Yasmin – who travelled from Leicester to be by her side – were supported by Acorn House.

Max spent five days in hospital. Picture: Submitted
Max spent five days in hospital. Picture: Submitted

“I don’t know what we would have done without them. Naturally, I did not want to leave Max’s side, let alone drive an hour back to Thetford from Cambridge each day,” she said.

“It meant we could be on hand should Max’s condition change, with a phone in the room connected directly to the ward so we could always be contacted even when trying to get some rest.

“It was hard to sleep knowing he was on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit but having a place to rest and process everything so close to where Max was being treated was invaluable.”

Thankfully, Max’s condition began to improve, being removed from his ventilator after two days while continuing to receive medication to reduce swelling.

Leonie with Max. Picture: Submitted
Leonie with Max. Picture: Submitted

After five days treatment at Addenbrooke’s, Max returned to the West Suffolk Hospital before being discharged a few days later, having made excellent progress.

She said: “He is doing really well now, although long term we do not know what kind of issues he might face in terms of his ability to learn.

“We don’t know what the future holds, but the fact that he is doing so well after something so serious is a big relief.”

Max Leonie. Picture: Submitted
Max Leonie. Picture: Submitted
Leonie took on the 10,000ft skydive for The Sick Children's Trust. Picture: Submitted
Leonie took on the 10,000ft skydive for The Sick Children's Trust. Picture: Submitted

“When I saw the opportunity to do this for The Sick Children’s Trust I felt like it was the perfect chance to give something back to them. I must admit that when I was stood waiting to do the skydive, I kept thinking that maybe I should have done a bake sale to raise money instead, but I did not regret doing it.”

The Sick Children’s Trust does not charge families to stay in any of its Homes from Home, however it does cost the charity £40 to support a family for one night.

For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, go to the charity’s website.