Suburban Sheffield unites for children’s charity | Action Medical Research

Suburban Sheffield unites for children’s charity

8 November 2013

Community spirit is alive and well in the Sheffield suburban district of Meersbrook, where a group of 50 residents have come together to show support for a local family whose baby boy died earlier this year.

Elijah Halse was born prematurely at 25 weeks, to parents Jenny and James. Although the initial prognosis was good, he died at just 37 days old as a result of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC).

James and Jenny decided to channel some of their emotion and grief into running, and signed up to their local Percy Pud 10k to raise money for children’s charity Action Medical Research. The charity is funding research to develop a new test to help identify babies with NEC so they can receive treatment sooner. They hope this test will lead to swifter diagnosis and reduce the chances of the disease becoming life threatening.

Local residents in Meersbrook rallied to support Jenny and James when Elijah was alive and being treated in hospital. The parents started a blog to help keep family and friends, near and far, up to date with his condition. It received 4,000 hits on the day he had surgery. People were desperate to know he was safe.

A tide of friends and neighbours continued to show their support when Elijah sadly died by volunteering to run alongside Jenny and James. 51 people will be running the Percy Pud on 1 December as “Team Lightning” for Action Medical Research. Lightning is the nickname given to Elijah by one of his brothers when he was born; fast just like lightning! 29 of the team come from Meersbrook, Sheffield, many with little or no running experience.

Jenny Halse, Elijah’s Mother says: “Running is a way of channelling some of the emotion and energy that James and I have into something positive. Elijah is buried at Wisewood cemetery in the Loxley Valley (very close to the start of the Percy Pud). While I wish we didn’t have this reason to visit the Loxley Valley, it is a beautiful place. The Percy Pud is a fitting race to run for Elijah.

“That so many have volunteered to run with us is overwhelming. While some of us have run before, many are novices and have faced their fears to take on this challenge in Elijah’s memory. We know his short and turbulent life will not be forgotten. The ripples from Elijah’s life are far-reaching, raising money for a great cause and uniting a community. Given an opportunity, people want to demonstrate how much they care.”

Other runners supporting the family are coming from outside of Sheffield, and a small group is also running an alternative 10k in Watlington in Oxfordshire. One runner, a close friend from University Jack Houghton, has just completed a 50 mile Dusk ‘til Dawn Ultra Marathon in The Peak District.

For more information on Elijah and team ‘Lightning’ or to lend your support please go to the Team Lightning  fundraising page

For more information on the children’s charity Action Medical Research please go to:

Jenny and James Halse blog on their experiences following the death of Elijah:



High-res pictures can be downloaded from the links below:

Jenny and James Halse:

Elijah Halse:

Elijah Halse:

The family:

For further information please contact:

Toni Slater, Communications Manager
T: 01403 327478

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Action Medical Research is a UK-wide charity saving and changing children’s lives through medical research. We want to make a difference in:

  • tackling premature birth and treating sick and vulnerable babies
  • helping children affected by disability, disabling conditions and infections
  • targeting rare diseases that together severely affect many forgotten children.

Just one breakthrough, however small, can mean the world.

Charity reg.nos 208701 and SC039284

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