WHEN Steve Brydon’s infant daughter collapsed in front of him, he feared she was having a heart attack.
The doting 44-year-old thought all his worst fears were coming true when Daniella dropped to the floor of his Roseburn flat. The incident – which happened two years ago when little Daniella was aged just 15 months – would change Steve’s life forever. He said: “She collapsed on me in the house and started having what I thought was a cardiac arrest.”
“She was admitted to the Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh for five days from July ‘11. She had a brain scan, a heart test, an ECG [electrocardiogram] and a blood test for meningitis. It came back as a viral infection for her upper respiratory tract – basically a throat infection.
“The symptoms caused her to have a 41C body temperature. The brain shuts down and she goes into a fever fit.”
Steve saw an advertisement for a charity Ben Nevis climb in ward six at the Sick Kids while waiting nervously for the verdict on his daughter’s health.
It inspired him to start on a volunteer fundraising path for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation (SKFF) that involved ascending to the peak of Scotland’s highest mountain in October last year. The father, who has raised about £4000 for the charity, said it was the least he could do for the hospital after the way staff had looked after Daniella.
His fundraising efforts have resulted in Steve being nominated for the Sick Kids Heroes awards.
The awards are designed to mark SKFF’s 20th anniversary.
Steve said his daughter had been diagnosed as suffering from febrile convulsions. The condition occurs when a child has a high temperature of 38C or above, causing the brain to shut down and leading to a seizure similar to an epileptic fit.
Daniella had a dozen seizures in the space of a year, but now appears permanently on the mend since doctors identified inflamed tonsils as the main cause of her soaring temperatures.
Steve said: “All I wanted to do was make parents aware of the importance of checking baby or toddlers’ body temperatures because they may end up having febrile convulsions. It’s a self-defence mechanism, like a kettle boiling and when it gets to a certain point it switches off.”
Steve is planning to climb the 1344m (4909ft) to Ben Nevis’ summit again this autumn and make the fundraising trek an annual fixture. He joins fellow fundraiser and actor Tom Freeman as a nominee for the Sick Kids Heroes awards. Tom, 38, from Musselburgh, launched the Sick Kids Save Point event three years ago – an annual 24-hour video game marathon designed to raise funds for the charity.
More than £45,000 has been raised since the initiative began. Award winners will be announced at a gala lunch at the Caledonian Hotel on May 10. Tickets are £40 from SKFF by calling 0131-668 4949.