LITTLE Sam Merrick is known as a charmer when he stays at Queen Alexandra Hospital’s children’s ward.
The five-year-old, from Denmead, has been in and out of hospital his whole life because of a rare immune deficiency.
So he has got to know the doctors and nurses very well.
And one of the nurses, Amanda Miller, has just completed a fundraising swim of one and a half miles for a charity Sam’s parents have set up to help other families in similar situations, Sam’s Haven.
Louise and Paul Merrick are trying to raise enough money to buy a caravan in West Sussex for families who have children that are seriously ill to spend a few quality days together by the sea.
Amanda, a 35-year-old mum of two, from Waterlooville, raised £700 with the swim.
She said: ‘I only started swimming about eight or nine weeks ago. Before the big day I’d only done eight swims.
‘It all started when my husband and I went away for our wedding anniversary and I did a few lengths of the hotel pool. And I thought to myself, “I might as well put this swimming to good use and do something constructive”.
‘Sam is adorable and when he is at work we all treat him as one of our own. When I heard about the plans for the caravan I wanted to help. And when I put my mind to something nothing will stop me.’
It took Mrs Miller just under two hours to swim one and a half miles – 100 lengths of the pool.
She said: ‘It was tough but with the support I got from Louise, Paul and
Sam, and my mum and dad, it kept me going.
‘I was obviously worn out but finishing felt fantastic. I was elated, it was amazing.
‘Paul and Louise had no idea how much sponsorship money I had raised so to see the look on their faces when I told them it was £700 was priceless.
‘It’s a little personal achievement for me as well as a good start for the charity.’
To donate go online to samshaven.com.