‘she Held My Hand, Which Was Incredible’: Dad Cycles 1,000 Miles to Raise Money for South London Hospital That Saved Daughter’s Life

A father has cycled 1,000 miles to raise money for the hospital which saved his daughter from meningitis.

Iain Painting, from Kingston upon Thames, has raised more than £5,000 for Evelina London Children’s Hospital in London Bridge after his daughter Amelia received life-saving treatment for meningitis and encephalitis.

Amelia was 13 years old in 2019 when she first started feeling ill.

Iain and his wife Mary decided to take her to an A&E department, and once at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, it was found that she had contracted pneumococcal meningitis, a life-threatening infectious disease that causes inflammation of the layers that surround the brain and spinal cord.

She also had encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain itself.

Amelia was put on mechanical ventilation as she could not breathe on her own. Doctors fought to save Amelia, but as each day passed her conditioned deteriorated.

Iain said: “On Monday morning she was admitted to PICU and by Thursday the team were so worried about her that I was asked to bring in our son Aidan to say goodbye to her.”

The following day the family received the news they were all hoping for.

Iain said: “On the Friday morning, in the blink of an eye, her condition began to improve. She started to respond to things around her and was beginning to move. She held my hand, which was incredible. Just a few days before I thought she might never be able to do that again.”

Amelia was taken off the life support machine the next day. Although she still needed ongoing support, including help walking, she was able to leave the hospital the following week.

Iain said: “The meningitis caused Amelia to lose the hearing in her left ear and she had a severe eye infection which needed further treatment.

“Although we’re all still processing what happened, we have a happy ending and I know from being on the unit, not every family gets that.”

To show his appreciation for all the teams that cared for Amelia, Iain and two friends recently finished a nine-day cycle across the length of the UK, from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland.

Iain and his friends cycled on average 110 miles each day, carrying all their own kit along with them for the entirety of the journey.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Iain. “I just can’t say thank you enough. Amelia had a level of care that we just didn’t know existed.”

So far Iain and his friends have raised almost £5,000 for Evelina London Children’s Charity. To donate visit JustGiving.

Pictured top: Iain Painting and daughter Amelia (Picture: Iain Painting)