A little girl, who was born weighing 650grams and spent the first 13 months of her life in hospital has been named as the honorary 41st runner in the 2022 Randox Grand National (9 April).
Four-year-old Becky Batt was nominated by the Jockey Club for the spot, as part of a partnership to raise money for the Alder Hey Children’s Charity, which supports Alder Hey Hospital.
“Betty is just amazing. She is the most delightful, placid and brave little girl. A nurse once said to us, ‘Betty brings out the best in people’. Betty’s journey will continue and the remarkable NHS that saved her countless times will continue on this road with her,” said her father, Phil Batt.
“She is our little miracle and no matter what comes we will all continue to love her with everything we have and with utter joy and immense gratitude to those who never gave up on her and gave us this most precious gift.”
Betty was the size of a biro when she was born, more than four months premature, in June 2017. She needed constant treatment in the neonatal intensive care unit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Doctors discovered Betty’s bowel was perforated in two places and she was transferred to Alder Hey Hospital for emergency surgery. It proved the first in a number of procedures needed to save Betty’s life.
She had frequent infections, needing blood transfusions, blood cultures and lumbar punctures, and her liver was seriously affected by her intravenous feeds. She also required a second bowel operation at Alder Hey.
Betty’s parents, Phil and Karen, were determined to bring Betty home to be with her brother and sister, Stanley and Martha. The team at Alder Hey trained them with the skills needed to deal with her medical needs, including her tracheostomy, so she could go home to her family after 13 months in hospital.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Aintree’s partnership with the hospital, and Alder Hey is also the official charity of the Randox Grand National Festival (7 to 9 April).
“Our relationships with those in the local community are so important to us all here at Aintree and none more so than the close bond we’ve formed with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital over the past 20 years,” said Dickon White, the Jockey Club’s regional director for Aintree racecourse and the north west.
“The work they do is phenomenal and rightly receives not only nationwide but worldwide recognition. We’re proud to work with them throughout the year, not just during the Randox Grand National Festival, and it’s our honour to name Betty as the 41st runner in 2022.
“By highlighting the Batt family’s story and promoting the work Alder Hey do for children and young people day in, day out we hope to raise awareness and much needed funds to help other youngsters and their families.”
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