A GRATEFUL mum is taking on a fundraising challenge to say thank you to the hospital which treated her son.

Rhys Mawer, 21, from Heybridge, has been in and out of hospital for all of his life.

He has had a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy since birth, in which the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, is enlarged.

As Rhys got older, he managed to live a reasonably normal life.

He has worked full-time in London as a chef, while still making hospital visits.

However, Rhys deteriorated while away with friends for his birthday in June 2023, prompting mum Alison to take him to Broomfield Hospital.

During his stay, Rhys’ heart rate went up to 300bpm.

He needed to be shocked to bring his heart rate down, which was successful, and subsequently spent ten days ventilated in intensive care at Broomfield.

Rhys’s kidneys and liver failed so he was put on dialysis.

Thankfully, there was no sign of brain damage when he woke up.

After being transferred to St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, Rhys took another turn for the worst and needed to be resuscitated.

He fought through and needed to be ventilated again.

Staff told Rhys’ family he would need to be transferred to Harefield Hospital, a specialist transplant hospital.

Rhys was transferred on June 30.

Alison said: “We were there for a month and they made our time a lot easier, away from home. I can’t sing their praises enough. He’s still under there. 

“We don’t know what the future holds. At the moment, he doesn’t need a heart transplant but if he does, that’s where he’ll have it. 

“He’s got underlying issues that haven’t helped and that’s why it’s complex if he does need a transplant.”

She said Rhys had a pacemaker fitted on July 24 and was discharged from Harefield Hospital the following day.

In the months since, Rhys has returned to Harefield including having more surgery on October 17.

This included being fitted with a pacemaker for patients with heart failure. 

The previous pacemaker, which had been fitted as a safety measure, was removed and a new surgeon fitted the CRT-D.

Alison and sister-in-law Katie will be taking on a fundraising skydive on June 8.

They have already raised more than £2,000 on their online fundraiser.

To donate, visit tinyurl.com/44ccytds.