TWELVE years ago, Katie and John Herr made a promise, after nurses and doctors saved the life of their seriously-ill son, Ethan.
The couple were faced with a horrifying experience when Ethan, their first child, was born with a major defect to his bowel, which needed immediate treatment.
The youngster was rushed to the Royal Sussex County Hospital’s Trevor Mann Baby unit in Brighton, minutes after he was born. Within hours, doctors were operating to save his life.
Three months down the line, and another two operations to repair his bowel later, Ethan was on the mend.
It was only once Katie and John, then both 22, returned home to Littlehampton that they promised to repay the nurses and doctors for all the hard work in saving their son.
Twelve years have passed and Ethan is now a healthy year-eight student at The Littlehampton Academy, and his parents have two more children, and are fulfilling that promise, by running the Brighton Half-Marathon, next month.
The couple have so far raised £700 for the Rocking Horse Appeal, which raises money for both the Royal Sussex County Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital – both of which cared for Ethan as a baby.
Katie, 35, of Spinnaker Close, Littlehampton, said: “Ethan was born with gastroschisis which meant he had a hole in his abdominal wall which left part of his bowel exposed.
“As 22-year-old first-time parents, that was pretty scary to hear.
“We were always confident he would be fine, but watching your little boy go through all those operations wasn’t easy.
“But we were so thankful of all the hard work by people at the Royal Sussex and the Royal Alexandra.”
Katie, who works at Kittiwake, in Littlehampton, said this was the first time she had ever taken part in long-distance running.
She admitted the training had not been easy for her, with the Christmas break slowing her momentum.
“John has done some running before, raising money for Princess Marina House, but not much,” she added. “And if someone mentioned that I would be doing a half-marathon six months ago I would have just said ‘No way!’.
“But I’m really determined to complete it, even if I have to walk some of it.”
The race is on Sunday, February 16.
To sponsor the couple, click here.