Teacher Sam Morgan is taking on IRONMAN UK on 14 July to raise money for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St Michael’s Hospital.

Sam is taking on the intense challenge after his son Max was born with a problem with his digestive system. 

Max was born on 24 March 2018 at Southmead Hospital and transferred to St Mike’s NICU the same day.

Sam said: “On 20 March we thought he wasn’t wriggling around like the madman he had been so we thought it was best to get him checked out.

“The scan picked up a ‘double bubble’ where his stomach was. We had to wait a few days for another scan for a second opinion, which wasn’t fun to wait for, but they confirmed the same thing.”

Sam’s wife Sarah was due to be induced on 27 March, but Max had another ideas and contractions started in the small hours of the morning on 24 March.

“We arrived at the hospital at 5am and Sarah was an absolutely trooper,” Sam said, “Max was born at 7:32am.

“He weighed 3.26kg and was pink, crying and beautiful. I cut the cord, he had a very quick cuddle with mum, an even quicker cuddle with me, then I pushed him down to intensive care while Sarah was looked after.”

Later that day Max was transferred to St Michael’s Hospital where he had a duodenoduodenostomy a few days later.

The surgery was a success and after just over three weeks of care, Max was allowed home.

Sam said: “The care given to Max was amazing. We spent every waking minute there really, so the communication we received when we weren’t there was invaluable.

“We loved getting images of him sent to us over night. And we won’t forget the card that was made for us ‘from Max’ by one of the nurses the morning we arrived after a very tough day.

“A year later, Max is doing very well, though definitely still needs to up his sleep game. But let's be honest, we'll take a bit of sleep deprivation given the earlier trials and tribulations!”

Now Sam is fundraising to say thank you for the care Max received at the hospital. He is taking on IRONMAN UK – a long-distance triathlon with a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride and a marathon run – all without a break.

To sponsor Sam, visit his Just Giving page.

If you are interested in fundraising for Above & Beyond, contact our fundraising team on [email protected]