Grateful dad to kayak 70 miles for children’s hospital

Peter James will take to the water for Sheffield Children's Hospital starting on Friday, August 25.
Peter James will take to the water for Sheffield Children's Hospital starting on Friday, August 25.

A Harworth dad is gearing up for a 70-mile kayak challenge to fundraise for the children’s hospital which gave his daughter critical spinal surgery.

Peter James, 50, will set out from lock 59 on the Chesterfield Canal in Retford at 9.30am on Friday, August 25, and hopes to arrive in Sheffield four days later.

He is raising money for Sheffield Children’s Hospital, after it saved his daughter Emily, 14, from possible paralysis earlier this year.

Family friend Katie Shail said: “Emily underwent major surgery to remove an epidermoid cyst in her spinal cord.

“She had been struggling to walk for nearly a year before the problem was identified, but has now made a full recovery - even better than the surgeon’s predicted.”

The cyst was putting pressure on Emily’s nerves and threatened to paralyse her legs, but initially appeared to be a problem with her knee.

Katie said: “She eventually went for an MRI scan, and the radiographer called the surgeon in as soon as she spotted the lump.

“Within a week, they had removed the cyst and Emily could begin her recovery.”

Emily was transferred to the neuroscience ward, where she was cared for by doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and a schoolteacher.

Katie said: “It was obviously a traumatic time for Emily’s parents, sisters and grandparents - their whole village was thinking of her - and it was a massive relief to them all.

“The treatment she received was second to none, and made Peter determined to give something back as a way of saying thank you, and to help other children who may not be so lucky.”

Peter used to be an active kayaker, but has not taken to the water in many years.

His route will take him along the canal to West Stockwith, and then on to the Trent, before connecting with the Sheffield canal and following it back to the city - and he will stay on the water for as long as it takes to complete.

He has set an initial fundraising target of £300.

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