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Dad’s tree-mendous half marathon to thank Evelina London

Last updated: Thursday, 06 April 2023

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A dad has completed a half marathon dressed as a tree to raise money for the team in Forest ward who helped save his daughter’s life.

Clint Holman ran the London Landmarks half marathon on Sunday (2 April) for Evelina London Children’s Charity.  

The 35-year-old kept his six-month-old daughter, Alana, front of mind throughout the 13.1 mile route. Although he has taken part in the race before, it was the first time he had the additional challenge of a costume. 

Clint’s challenge was his way of thanking the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, which is known as Forest ward.

Alana appeared to be a healthy baby at birth but Clint and his wife, Kerry, realised something wasn’t right when she was 9 days old as Alana wasn’t feeding, her skin was mottled and she was quite unresponsive.

Her condition deteriorated as the day went on, so they took Alana to their local emergency department at Medway hospital. After tests, it was decided that she should be sent to Evelina London. Alana was ventilated and put on several different types of medication while doctors carried out various tests.  

Clint, who lives in Iwade, near Sittingbourne, Kent said; “We found out later that things were touch and go for the first couple of days. Had we waited longer to take Alana to A&E, or had they had not responded the way they did, things could have been different.

“At one point, she had 8 syringe banks at once, with everything being monitored closely. It was quite scary.”

It took some time to determine that Alana had a virus, which gave her meningitis, as Alana’s symptoms were not presenting as typically expected. She was also diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle which reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood. Her seizures weren’t spotted until she had one while having an electrocardiogram (ECG) scan, as it looked like she was stretching.

Thankfully after 2 weeks on Forest ward, Alana was well enough to be discharged and go home to her parents and big brother Caleb, four.

Clint said: “It’s been a difficult few months but Alana’s doing a lot better and her follow up MRIs show good progress. She’s having physio every week to make sure she’s reaching her milestones, and thanks to the team at Evelina London, hopefully she is now on the road to recovery.”

Alana will soon return to Evelina London for a follow up appointment with the cardiology team.

Dr Sara Hanna, interim chief executive of Evelina London, said: “Alana was in a critical condition when she was brought to intensive care. After a difficult few days, we were able to identify what treatment was needed and she responded well, making an incredible recovery. We hope that she continues to go from strength to strength.

“We feel very grateful and fortunate that many people decide to take on incredible fundraising challenges to support our work.”

Clint said: “It went very well, despite the suit collapsing on me! A huge thank you to everyone who donated - friends, family and strangers. A massive thank you to the crowd on the day too. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing and was a big contributing factor to getting me to the finish line.”

Donate to Clint’s fundraising.

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