A group of families from the Rubery area are walking the family BRMB Walkathon in memory of Owen Evans who died at the age of 9 following a short but devastating illness last year.
One of the walkers is Kookie Salt, a midwife at Russell Hall Hospital, who will be walking with her husband Steve and their two children, Elizabeth (9) and Gabriella (7). She told me, “Elizabeth was in Pre-school with Owen and he was the year older than her, she is best friends with his sister Lily who is 8. All the children attend Beaconside Primary & Nursery School.. a small school and everyone knows everyone.”
Kookie explained that Owen first became ill in August 2010, with a virus attacking his liver. His haemoglobin levels were low and his immune system was failing to produce white blood cells to fight the viral infection, meaning that he needed blood transfusions. She said, “The plan was to get him stable and plan for a bone marrow transplant, he was matched with his Dad, but sadly on the 16th November 2010 his tired little body gave up the fight and he passed away being cradled by his mum Sue in the ITU of Birmingham Children’s Hospital. He died from a rare disease called Aplastic Anaemia.”
Around ten families will be tackling the 7 mile walk starting in Kings Heath, wearing blue T-Shirts with a picture of Owen on the front and a helium balloon which will be released at the end. “Team Owen” will include Owen’s parents Sue and Mark and his sister Lily, aged 8.
The Walkathon is organised by BRMB radio and is to raise funds towards a new Accident and Emergency unit at the Children’s Hospital.
Kookie added, “We are also planning further events through the next 12 months to fundraise directly for ITU and the ward that Owen was on also for Aplastic Anaemia. Sue and Lexi (Kookie’s sister) along with the headmaster from Beaconside, are also planning to walk the Great Wall of China in May 2012 in Owen’s memory.”
Good luck to all the families taking part!