Portsmouth’s Ben tackles the Great South Run to say thanks to hospital staff who cared for his son when the five-year-old had leukaemia 

Promoted by Simplyhealth Great South Run

Ben Slater will take on the Simplyhealth Great South Run to support the hospital ward that cared for his son when he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

The 34-year-old is set to run 10 miles for the Piam Brown Ward in Southampton General Hospital, where his five-year-old son Joseph spent time during his treatment for blood cancer.

Ben Slater is running the Great South Run for the Piam Brown Ward in Southampton General Hospital, where his five-year-old son Joseph spent time during his treatmentfor blood cancer

Ben Slater is running the Great South Run for the Piam Brown Ward in Southampton General Hospital, where his five-year-old son Joseph spent time during his treatmentfor blood cancer

In November 2014, Ben and his wife Claire took Joseph to the GP with an ear infection and some pin prick spots on his legs.

Within five minutes following his consultation, he was on his way to the Queen Alexandra Hospital in an ambulance to undergo blood tests.

The family were then given the devastating news that Joseph had leukaemia. He was then transferred to the Piam Brown Ward, a specialist child oncology ward.

Joseph’s went through three years and three months of chemotherapy and the family say the care he received was second to none.

Fortunately Joseph’s prognosis was favourable and he is now on the road to recovery, with dad Ben being inspired to raise money for the ward after seeing families there who were less fortunate than themselves.

Ben, 34, said: ‘On arrival to hospital I left our other two children with a nurse while I was directed to another room. I will never forget the look on my wife’s face as I entered, waiting to hear news about Joseph.

‘I didn’t even think about the impact the next two minutes would have on my life as I sat down, I remember it feeling like an out of body experience.

‘For a moment I was standing in the corner of the room watching this couple have their whole world ripped from underneath them. It’s still difficult to describe.

‘The words “Joseph has leukaemia” reverberated around my body as we prepared to make the devastating phone calls to tell our loved ones.

‘In the aftermath, we had so many questions that we wanted answers to. When Joseph was transferred to Piam Brown, the support from all of the staff on the ward was first class.

‘They consistently went above and beyond to care for him, from playworkers, admin staff to nurses and doctors.

‘Fortunately, Joseph’s prognosis was favourable and we finally finished three years of chemotherapy in January. He is doing well and is enjoying all of the things he couldn’t do during treatment, such as swimming.

‘Having spent time on Piam Brown ward, we became aware that not all families are as lucky as we were and too many children lose their battle.

‘Money that is donated to the ward buys all the extras, such as sponsored trips for patients to create memories, board games so that brothers and sisters can also enjoy family time, all the way to simple things like free tea and coffee for parents to remain at their child’s side 24/7.

‘Without Piam Brown, Joseph’s fight may have had a more devastating effect on the family and I want to thank them for that by taking on a challenge.’