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Local family holds fundraiser at Lochbroom sheepdog trials to give back to hospital their toddler suffered e.Coli and kidney failure

By Iona M.J. MacDonald

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Always with a smile, Callum isn't going to let anything stop him.
Always with a smile, Callum isn't going to let anything stop him.

A TODDLER who has survived a brush with death has inspired his parents to undertake a fundraising effort this weekend in honour of those who saved his life.

Callum MacDonald (3) contracted food poisoning bug E.Coli last September and was rushed to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Hospitalised for 10 weeks, the youngster, from Lochside near Ullapool, also contracted haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a condition which can occur when blood vessels in the kidneys become damaged, causing clots.

As a result Callum suffered kidney failure and then a stroke.

On dialysis for five weeks he is thankfully now back home and largely healthy though with reduced mobility in one hand.

Reliving that time mum Becca, a nurse originally from Drumnadrochit, said: "He was really, really sick at some points, we weren't sure if he would make it through the night.

"I'm a nurse, so when you understand what's going on, and how bad it is, it's twice as terrifying. Your whole world just stops."

However she added: "But we were lucky, we walked out of hospital, lots of kids didn't.

"In character, Callum is really determined, headstrong. He's always happy – even when he was in hospital he was always happy.

"He always pushes himself to try. If he didn't have that determination we don't know how far he would have recovered."

Of the progress he has made she said it was unlikely Callum would ever regain full function of his hand but there was "lots of improvement".

Now that their nightmare is over she and husband Gavin are determined to support the health service which cared for their son, and do what they can to help other parents who find themselves in a similar situation.

They are holding a fundraising auction and raffle from 3pm at the annual Lochbroom sheepdog trials at Inverbroom farm, due to take place on Saturday.

"We wanted to raise some money to give a bit back to the hospital, and help any other children that might be in that same situation," Mrs MacDonald said.

"We hope to raise money especially for the physio and the occupational therapy departments, for some new toys and equipment, as they were really good to Callum.

"We got to know all the nurses so well, they became more like friends than just nurses. They were amazing.

"The play team that came round the hospital were a great support for us, they came in all the time with games and activities to keep Callum busy. They're always looking for donations for toys, Callum got loads of stuff from them, so we wanted to raise some money to give back."

Gavin and Callum MacDonald out on the farm
Gavin and Callum MacDonald out on the farm

Dad Gavin, who works at Clachan Farm, agreed.

"We hope to raise money especially for the physio and the occupational therapy departments, for some new toys and equipment.

"The sheepdog trials are a family thing – my uncle and auntie, Scott and Marie Renwick, run them and Scott had first suggested we do the fundraiser when we came out of hospital.

"We've been very fortunate. It's unbelievable what people have given us for the auction and raffle. We've got loads of good stuff for it, like shooting and fishing equipment, a weekend at a B&B, whisky, loads of stuff.

"We weren't sure what we would get, but we've been really lucky, we've got over 17 auction prizes. People have been amazing, their kindness has been overwhelming."

And he added: "Even when Callum was in hospital we really felt the community behind us, especially the farming community."

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