Doncaster dad in 116-day ice bath challenge to thank hospital which saved daughter's life

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A dedicated Doncaster dad is taking on a freezing fundraising challenge – as a thank you to the hospital that saved the life of his seriously ill daughter.

Carl Birks has begun the tortuous challenge which will see him plunging himself into a chest freezer full of chilly water and frozen ice – every day for 116 days, the length of time his daughter Felicity spent in hospital.

Born prematurely at 29 weeks with a rare condition called Hydrops Fetalis, she was given just a five percent chance of survival and was extremely poorly.

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A life-threatening condition in which abnormal amounts of fluid accumulate in two or more body areas of an unborn baby, it most often occurs in the abdomen, around the heart or lungs, or under the skin.

Carl Birks is taking on his ice bath challenge as a thank you to the hospitals which saved daughter Felicity's life.Carl Birks is taking on his ice bath challenge as a thank you to the hospitals which saved daughter Felicity's life.
Carl Birks is taking on his ice bath challenge as a thank you to the hospitals which saved daughter Felicity's life.

Arriving via emergency C-section at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, it quickly became apparent that Felicity needed to be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit in Sheffield for vital treatment.

Said Carl: “There is no doubt in my mind that these moments were the most devastating moments of my life and while the journey on the ambulance was a complete blur, there is one thing that I can recall from that morning and that is the way in which the paramedics who were responsible for getting my little girl to the Jessop wing in Sheffield safe and sound, also made sure that I was OK.

"They sat me down, gave me something to drink and eat, and made sure that I knew I would be in no fit state to look after my girl if I didn't look after myself.”

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Felicity has just celebrated her 4th birthday and has made a full recovery – and Carl is taking on the challenge to raise funds for Jessop and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

He said: “I have chosen to do this 116-day challenge as that's how many days my little warrior spent in the hospital.

"While I know this challenge may not be easy for me to complete, it pales in significance to what Felicity had to endure at such an early stage in her life.”

He added: “I'm also doing this challenge to highlight the amazing job everyone within Team Embrace and the ambulance service does."

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Carl is currently nearing the end of a health science course at Doncaster College and has been offered a place to study paramedic science at the University of Bradford starting in September.

He said: “I have made it my ambition to be a positive influence on people during the most difficult times they will ever face.”

He is sharing videos of his ice baths on TikTok, along with a Facebook page with fundraising updates HERE.

He has also set up a JustGiving page which you can donate to HERE

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“It's very close to my heart so want to do all I can to raise as much money as possible,” he added. “I also have people who have volunteered to take the plunge into the ice bath when I reach certain milestones to mix it up and video their reactions.”