In 2017, the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge raised over £100,000 for Bristol Royal Hospital for Children’s Major Trauma and Rehabilitation Unit. The unit provides essential care for children from across the South West suffering from traumatic brain injuries, brain tumours, epilepsy and cerebral palsy. Ben was treated there for three months after he fell and fractured his skull.

Ben Hayes in hospital

Seven-year-old Ben’s life was changed in an instant when playing with friends one morning. He went to open the window but lost his balance, falling from the first floor onto the concrete patio below fracturing his skull.

His head injury was so severe he couldn’t walk, talk or eat. He could barely sit up on his own and needed round-the-clock nursing care. For three months, the dedicated team at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children’s Major Trauma and Rehabilitation Unit provided physio, occupational therapy, supportive psychology and help with his speech until, little by little, he began to improve.

We know there are still families up there, on that same ward, in those same beds that we spent hours in. They’re sat there right now and tomorrow there will be more. You can’t change that but thanks to the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge a huge difference will be made to children’s lives and recovery.

- Izak Heys, Ben’s dad

Each year 40,000 children in the UK are admitted to hospital with severe brain injuries but that’s only the beginning of their journey to recovery. The long-term emotional and physical impact takes time to heal and for children like Ben the hospital becomes home for months, for some, even years.

Rehabilitation is a long road to recovery, so with the help of the Bristol to Paris cycle, we will be able to create a place where children and their families feel at home whilst receiving the best possible care, using the best possible facilities.

- Aimee White, Paediatric Major Trauma Rehabilitation Co-ordinator

Thanks to the wonderful team of 80 cyclists, and their families and friends who sponsored them, the BRHC can now build a rehabilitation kitchen to help children re-learn the basic tasks of daily life, create a tranquil oasis garden to provide a quiet, private space for families to spend precious time together, and form a stimulating, fun environment to support every step of a child’s long road to recovery.

Find out more about our annual Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge.