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‘Miracle boy’ inspires dad to jump for charity

Ben Hodds is set to do a charity parachute jump after his son, Ethan (7) contracted Septicaemia. Ethan with his family in the garden.

Ben Hodds is set to do a charity parachute jump after his son, Ethan (7) contracted Septicaemia. Ethan with his family in the garden.

© Archant 2012

AS bubbly Ethan Hodds plays with his father in their Lowestoft garden it is hard to imagine the traumatic events that led to the youngster being labelled a “miracle” boy.

Aged seven, Ethan shows no signs of the dramatic events of 2006 when doctors gave him less than a 10 per cent chance of living after he contracted meningitis.

In hospital Ethan’s parents Ben and Natasha were told to prepare for the worst as their son was critically ill in a coma with meningococcal septicaemia.

But, incredibly, the plucky one-and-a-half-year-old defied the medical odds to make a full recovery after only two weeks in hospital and safely returned to his Winnipeg Road home.

His recovery so stunned doctors and nurses they labelled him a “miracle”.

And now, to help the fight against meningitis, Ethan’s father will be raising funds for the charity that researches the deadly bug by carrying out a daredevil parachute jump.

Ben Hodds, 36 and a teaching assistant at Northfield St Nicholas Primary School, will be jumping out of a plane at 10,000ft over Ellough airfield on June 23 in aid of the Meningitis Research Foundation.

As the father-of-five descends to the ground, he will be watched proudly by Ethan, his twin brother Chase, brothers Ellis, 13, and Mason, 11 and sister Taela, eight.

Ben has spoken to The Journal about the traumatic events of 2006.

Ethan had been in his father’s bed as he was feeling poorly and had a high temperature.

But he took a turn for the worse and started fitting.

Ben said: “His eyes were rolling into the back of his head. He was roasting hot. It was just a nightmare.”

Ethan was rushed into intensive care and went into a coma for five days.

Ben added: “Basically we were given the death speech by doctors and told to prepare for the worst. They said he had less than a 10pc chance of surviving.

“It was a horrible moment. He was clinging to life. I would not wish that on my own worst enemy.”

But Ethan bravely battled the bug and within days he was on the up – astounding doctors with his speedy recovery.

His recovery was so dramatic he could even play football with his father in hospital!

Ben said: “The hospital staff called him a “miracle”.

“Doctors did not know why he had recovered so quickly. It was fantastic to get him home safe and sound.”

Ben has set himself an annual fund-raising challenge for the Meningitis Research Foundation. Last year he raised £670 for the charity by running the London Marathon.

He said: “This year I wanted a new challenge and completing a skydive from 10,000ft seemed like the perfect opportunity.

“Knowing that all the money I raise will go towards such a great cause makes it all the more worthwhile.”

Ben wanted to thank all the staff at the James Paget University Hospital and Addenbrooke’s Hospital who treated Ethan.

Ethan said he was proud of his dad’s parachute jump.

●To sponsor Ben visit www.justgiving.com/Ben-Hodds0

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