One Bristow employee’s very special reason for taking on Run Balmoral

Bristow Engineer Jack holding baby Oscar.

Bristow Engineer Jack has a very special reason for taking part in Run Balmoral this year - and his name is Oscar.

In 2022 Jack and his partner, Sophie, were looking forward to the birth of their first child. But the couple's excitement turned to concern when baby Oscar decided to make an early appearance after just 26 weeks. 

“Oscar was born 14 weeks premature," said Jack, who works at Bristow’s Aberdeen base. "When we first saw him we could hardly believe how tiny he was. He looked so fragile.”

Jack and Sophie were right, Oscar was in need of urgent, specialist care. 

Baby Oscar holding a finger

Weighing in at about the same as half a bag of sugar, Jack and Sophie's new baby was immediately taken into the Neo-Natal intensive care unit at Aberdeen Children's hospital where he was to spend the next five months receiving treatment.

“It was a really tough time,” recalls Jack. “Oscar was in a very precarious condition. Being born so premature meant he could barely even breathe on his own. 

"He spent his first month of life on a ventilator and had to stay in an incubator for a further two months. 

"The doctors told us on two occasions he was close to death and we prepared ourselves for the worst. But he just kept on going!

Baby Oscar in the Hospital

“To be honest it was all a bit of a blur at points,” admits Jack. “There was so much happening and we were so worried for him. 

"During one period of treatment I counted eight different pumps attached to Oscar. The support and care he received was just incredible, but it was a really tough time”

Throughout all of their baby's early treatment some of the things that stood out for Jack and Sophie were the touches that made their situation that bit easier to take. Things provided by charity The Archie Foundation.

“I noticed very early on the impact the Archie Foundation had on the treatment Oscar received,” said Jack. "Their work made a huge difference to us and him. 

"From making the children's hospital look and feel welcoming to providing the specialist incubator that Oscar spent the first three months of his life in, the Archie Foundation turned what would have been a wholly traumatic experience into something so much easier for us to deal with.  

"We were given story books, knitted cuddly toys and also a diary so we could write about Oscar's journey through the neonatal unit. It was a difficult time, but these things made a real difference to us. 

We are enormously grateful for their support, which is why I'm pleased to be taking on Run Balmoral for them.

“I know they will put the funds we raise to good use, helping other children and families like ours going through some difficult times.” 

Today, other than an occasional check-up Oscar is out of hospital and, although he still relies on oxygen, he is otherwise a pretty normal toddler, keeping his Mum and Dad busy.

So busy in fact that Jack is finding it hard to schedule any training for Run Balmoral… 

“I'm part of the Bristow Team and have pledged to do the 15-mile trail run for The Archie Foundation," said Jack. “And no matter how much it hurts I'm going to get around the course!  

"Of course any donations to our justgiving page would definitely help!”

If you'd like to help spur Jack around the 15-mile course this April, raising vital funds for this great charity, then check out the Bristow team's fundraising page where any contribution - large or small - will go direct to the charity that helped them. 

Team Bristow Run Balmoral 2024 Graphic