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Islington couple raise £100,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital in memory of baby son James, who died a year ago

PUBLISHED: 13:44 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:52 10 October 2017

Runners for Little Jimmy's Brighter Future Fund after completing the Royal Parks Half Marathon. Picture: Alexander Newton

Runners for Little Jimmy's Brighter Future Fund after completing the Royal Parks Half Marathon. Picture: Alexander Newton

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Islington couple Emily and Pete Shaw have raised more than £100k in one year in memory of their baby son, who died in October 2016.

James Shaw died at five and a half weeks old. Picture: Emily and Pete ShawJames Shaw died at five and a half weeks old. Picture: Emily and Pete Shaw

James Shaw became suddenly ill 12 months ago when he was five and a half weeks old.

He was rushed to A&E but despite medics’ best efforts he died at Great Ormond Street Hospital 48 hours later from a suspected infection and blood clot.

“Every one of his organs was failing – he was on the intensive care unit on lots of life support,” Emily said.

“They threw everything at him but despite that he continued to deteriorate.”

Emily Shaw with baby James. Picture: Pete ShawEmily Shaw with baby James. Picture: Pete Shaw

Three weeks later James’s twin sister Isabel needed emergency surgery for a hole in the diaphragm.

“The staff, both for James for that 48 hours and for Isabel, were amazing – from the cleaner all the way up to the surgeon and ICU consultant,” Pete said. “They threw the kitchen sink at both at them and they couldn’t have done any more.”

Not long after, Emily and Pete decided to set up the Little Jimmy Brighter Future Fund.

“It was just after we lost James,” said Emily. “James was alive for such a short time it felt like he didn’t have his opportunity to leave his mark on this world. I was so worried he’d be forgotten.”

"James was alive for such a short time it felt like he didn’t have his opportunity to leave his mark on this world. I was so worried he’d be forgotten"

Emily Shaw

Their goal was £107,000 – the price of two ventilators used to transfer poorly children between hospitals. Through fundraising pages, marathons, cycling challenges, bakeathons and even teaching classes in baby lifesaving they and their friends got about halfway.

But the most money came when the couple gathered a team to do Sunday’s Royal Parks half marathon in central London.

“I thought maybe we’d get 10, 15 runners,” said Emily, “but people formed a queue to sign up.”

They hit their £107,000 target on September 28, a year to the day since they brought their twins home from hospital for the first time.

James Shaw and his twin sister Isabel. Picture: Emily and Pete ShawJames Shaw and his twin sister Isabel. Picture: Emily and Pete Shaw

The team had 106 runners and £4,000 coming in the days leading up to Sunday’s race. The entire family ran – Pete in a bear costume, Pete’s mum Phyl, and his brother Paul, who ran the equivalent distance in Sydney with a dozen friends.

Having exceeded the target, the couple are saving up for another piece of equipment. To donate, visit the couple’s fundraising page.

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