Mystery illness inspires Jeanne's charity mission

Jeanne Cookson with grandson, baby George. (s)
Jeanne Cookson with grandson, baby George. (s)
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Following her grandson's emergency blood transfusion, a Brierfield grandmother is championing the charity which supported her family through his mystery illness.


Jeanne Cookson has amassed £285 for The Sick Children’s Trust, which provided free Home from Home accommodation to her family at Eckersley House. Leeds, just minutes away from the hospital where baby George was receiving life-saving treatment.

Moved by this "amazing" support for her daughter and son-in-law, Jen and Paul Colenutt, Jeanne said she wanted "to give back to the charity".

And so the inspiring 55 year-old hosted a party and raffle at her Come and See! Toddler Group at St Luke’s CE Church, Brierfield, and offered dog-sitting services in exchange for donations.

She said: “It is an amazing thing to be able to stay so close to your loved one and I thought everything was so well organised.

"It helped Jen to have some peace of mind and be strong for George."

At just three days-old, George was raced to A&E in Wakefield when he began coughing up blood.

Although doctors were able to stabilise him, an immediate emergency transfer was arranged to Leeds.

But events took a turn for the worse when paramedics were forced to stop half-way to carry out a blood transfusion.

At hospital, he was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit where doctors struggled to stop the bleeding.

Although it remains a mystery, they discovered George had Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR), which is the backward flow of urine from the bladder into the kidneys.

He has since recovered, but continues to be monitored.

And so Jen said she is both thankful to the charity and proud of her mum's fund-raising mission.

She added: "I was also recovering from a caesarean, so the added stress and anxiety of being away from my son would have really taken its toll.

"It was honestly the most distressing time of our lives.

"[But] stepping into Eckersley House felt like walking into a safe haven."