Over the past five years the Dipple family from Bicester have spent more time in the Horton Children's Ward (plus a stint in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the JR) than they could ever have imagined.

So, to support the hospitals that have looked after their son Sam, Hannah and Matt Dipple have chosen to take part in the OX5 Run this Spring.  

The OX5 is a five mile run that takes place every Spring at Blenheim Palace, raising funds to help local children in hospital.

Sam, who is now six years old, has had countless visits to the Horton and John Radcliffe in his lifetime, but none more frightening for his family than their visit in November 2018.

Sam is now diagnosed with asthma, which means that any coughs or colds he catches go straight to his chest and can make him severely unwell.

On this particular Sunday he was so ill that the decision was made to take him to A&E. It was established at the hospital that Sam, then aged two,  was fighting three different viruses at the same time.

Mum Hannah explains, “He wasn’t responding to any medication and was becoming more tired and less tolerant to being prodded and poked. This led to him being so fed up that he held his breath in a little tantrum.

“Normally when this happened his body would recover and he’d start breathing again, but not this time. He crashed.  

“When Sam stopped breathing his body literally gave up. The room went from having just a couple of nurses and a doctor in the room, to a room full of medical professionals.”

Thankfully one of the doctors was able to resuscitate him, but he was a very poorly boy. Hannah explained, “The condition that Sam was in, and the fact that he wasn’t getting better meant that we had to make the terrifying decision to put him into a coma and onto a ventilator before being transferred to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the John Radcliffe.”

A specialist ambulance came to transport him to the JR where he stayed in a coma for four days.  

“It was the longest and most awful four days of our lives,” said Hannah. “Without the skills and care of so many doctors and nurses, our bundle of energy might not be here today.”

Thankfully no visit since has ever been as traumatic. Sam actually enjoys going to the Horton, where he now has his regular check-ups and the odd overnight admission, and he knows many of the nurses by name.

“Sam loves the playroom and play specialists - none of which would exist without the extra support from the Oxford Hospitals Charity.”

“We have been so well looked after since Sam's first admission that we felt it's about time we gave a little more back than just treats for the staff, and this felt like the perfect fundraiser.”

Matt and Hannah have linked with a family from the school that Hannah works at, who have also spent a lot of time in and out of both hospitals.

“We’ve joined a team called Beth’s Bees, that takes part every year. We felt that this way we would be able to raise even more money between us.”

Gail Williams, Events Manager at Oxford Hospital Charity said “It’s great to see such support for the Horton and JR hospitals from Hannah and Matt. We will be cheering her on from the side-lines.”

If you would like to take part in the OX5Run by yourself or in a team like Hannah, please visit www.hospitalcharity.co.uk/ox5run

You can run, walk or jog the five mile route at Blenheim Palace which takes place on Sunday 26 March.