Thank you for giving us our boy back

Posted on in Fundraising

A Staithes family have raised more than £2,400 to thank the hospital teams that helped give them their boy back.


15-year-old James Ditchburn was rushed into The James Cook University Hospital last November where he required two major operations to deal with a burst appendix.

A group of paediatric doctors, nurses, anaesthetists and surgeons worked through the night to stabilise the teenager who then spent a number of days in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) before moving onto ward 22.

“We did not know if we would see him again when he went into the operating theatre,” said his dad Paul. “The care he received was exceptional.”

James’ situation was particularly complicated because he has autism which affects his ability to talk.

David Macafee consultant surgeon said: “James was in a lot of distress and found it difficult to communicate with us what was wrong. He came in with a severe infection – once asleep on intensive care, our radiology colleagues were able to prove that it was appendicitis with a CT scan – enabling us to operate as soon as possible

“I had seen him at 11pm with a clear plan of action – when he worsened, paediatrician Jonathan Grimbley and the team worked through the night to stabilise him, make him comfortable and get the diagnosis”

James was allowed home just before Christmas and is now back attending Kilton Thorpe School.

Children's ward presentationDetermined to give something back his family held a bumper coffee morning in their home village of Staithes which raised £1,700 for PICU and the paediatric surgery team at the Middlesbrough hospital.

They also held a cake stall and raffled a signed Middlesbrough FC shirt which helped their total spiral to £2446.43.

“At the end of the day without the help of people in PICU, the surgical team and the ward we would not have him here today and he is our world. We could go on fundraising forever and it would not be enough,” said Paul

Mum Vanessa said: “We just want to say a heartfelt thank you to all the staff – without you we would not be a family anymore. You gave us our little boy back.”

Cathy Brammer, clinical matron for children and young people, added: “This is a fantastic amount to donate; I would really like to thank the family for their hard work.”