How Did Harry's Hydro Come About?
The little boy behind it all...
Harry Fox was born a perfect 9/10 APGAR on Dec 1st, 1998. Out came the cigar to celebrate.
In the Maternity Ward at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, Harry caught an infection and suffered a complete shut-down on day 4. He spent weeks in intensive care, but despite surviving he was left profoundly brain damaged.
This is a nightmare for any parent. Harry was about as bad as it gets – he couldn’t move, swallow, see, hear or blink. Our job was to make him as comfortable as possible, and give him love.
We discovered the best thing we could do for Harry was to swoosh him around in a warm pool. He would relax completely, and there was a sparkle in his eye. The only time he ever moved anything was when we took him to a very warm pool. This tested ‘blind’ baby would look at the lights in the wall and when we turned round to walk the other way – he would struggle and move his head to see them properly on the new side. We knew he loved this, and he would come out completely loose and relaxed and content, and he’d sleep soundly. It was his way of smiling.
The best form of treatment for Harry and people like him is hydrotherapy – physio and multi-sensory stimulation in a specially heated facility.
We learnt that although Harry was an extreme case, hydrotherapy can help a huge range of ailments, from arthritis to cerebral palsy, and it's extremely effective for those with mental, sensory and learning difficulties as well. Hydrotherapy, however, while being simple and effective, is not that easy to come by. Harry did not have access to the one therapy which would have brought him the most benefit and stimulation.
Harry died at thirteen months, on December 28th, 1999. He’d fought valiantly through numerous infections and illnesses – a real trooper, but he’d decided to go to the real 2000 millennium birthday party.
He was a much loved and cuddled little man who gave us, his parents, Digby and Paula, great joy throughout his short life. With his beautiful big brown eyes he would reach out and grab people’s hearts.
Harry’s Hydro Appeal
As you can imagine, Harry’s eventful life, and death, left us shell-shocked. Somewhere through the gloom sprang the seed of an idea
That’s How Harry’s Hydro Appeal Came About
The story behind this is tragic, in the full Greek sense of the word, but it’s not all bad news. We have another baby, Frances, who seems extraordinarily cheerful, and working on the appeal has made some fantastic events and connections happen. The family is back on the level, and we so look forward to seeing the bricks go up for the pool. The response from our friends, the community and so many people who hear about this through our events is superb.
We guess it’s a case of drawing the positives out of the negatives. Life does beat up on us, all of us, but it’s about bouncing back off the ropes, with a glint in your eye.
Digby Fox, Paula Fox and Harry Fox