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‘Miracle boy’s family back Big Appeal ahead of National Children’s Day

The family of a four-year-old boy who is making a ‘miracle’ recovery after a near-drowning experience is supporting an appeal to raise money for other young children in hospital.

John-Henry Birtle, from Newark, Nottinghamshire, has been hailed a ‘miracle boy’ after the near-drowning experience in a hotel swimming pool left him starved of oxygen for almost half an hour.

He was treated at Nottingham Children’s Hospital and, to thank them for their care of John-Henry, his family is now raising money for Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s Big Appeal, which aims to raise £3 million for parent and family accommodation, state-of-the-art equipment and vital research at the Children’s Hospital.

It comes ahead of National Children’s Day on Sunday 14th May, which aims to promote the importance of a healthy childhood, as well as protecting the rights of children.

John-Henry was on holiday in Slough with his family when he was found at the bottom of the hotel pool. He had been in the water an estimated nine minutes. His mum, Roseann, jumped into the pool to drag him out and a member of hotel staff administered CPR for 20 minutes before his pulse returned.

The little boy spent 13 days on life support in John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford before being transferred to Nottingham Children’s Hospital for specialist treatment. Doctors were initially pessimistic about his recovery and his parents were told that he was unlikely to walk or talk again, but less than two months after the incident, John-Henry is now walking, eating and drinking normally and his speech is beginning to return.

Mum Roseann says: “He was starved of oxygen for 28 minutes. For those 28 minutes he was gone. Doctors said he won’t have a good quality of life, he would not walk or talk or be able to recognise us, but he proved them all wrong and actually walked out of hospital five weeks later. He is expected to make a full recovery.”

Roseann adds: “We were praying the whole time the lady was giving him CPR and I had faith that God was going to heal him. He is my miracle boy.”

Roseann praised staff at Nottingham Children’s Hospital for their dedication and skill.
“All the clinical staff, the Nurses, Speech Therapists, the Physio team and Occupational Therapy team, have been absolutely fantastic. When you get to spend a long time in hospital you see how hard they work and what a brilliant job they do.”

John-Henry’s father Lewis has enrolled on to a Tough Mudder challenge this weekend, to coincide with National Children’s Day, to raise money for the hospital’s Big Appeal.

“Nottingham Children’s Hospital have been absolutely fantastic and now we want to give something back,” Roseann adds.

The family have three other children, two boys, aged 13 years and 19 months, and a girl aged 8. Roseann also thanked Life and Light Church in Swinderby and John Henry’s school Mount Primary in Newark for their support for the whole family.

Children’s Therapy Assistant Ellena Hodgetts says: “It is great to see John-Henry doing so well with his recovery.”

Barbara Cathcart, Chief Executive of Nottingham Hospitals Charity, says: “This is a remarkable story of hope and healing and we wish John-Henry well for his continued recovery. I’m delighted that the family want to fundraise for Nottingham Children’s Hospital. Our Big Appeal will make a big difference to children like John-Henry by helping to improve family accommodation and make the hospital a more child-friendly place, as well as funding up to the minute diagnostic equipment and crucial research.”

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