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Super Saturday – meet James!

A young person is standing smiling in a garden. They have dark glasses and a blue navy long sleeved top on. There are lots of bright flowers and greenery behind them.
04 September 2023

James has been a patient at Sheffield Children’s since he was nine months old and our staff here have seen him grow up over the last 10 years whilst we’ve been treating his asthma.

At our recent Super Saturday event we invited patients whose asthma might mean that they could need emergency care over winter to come in for an appointment, and James was one of them! Super Saturdays are a brilliant chance for us to do things differently and provide additional appointments, and we’re hoping the opportunity to meet with our Respiratory team at the start of the school year will mean that patients can stay well over the colder months.

Emma Sheppard, one of our Respiratory nurses, said: “The main aim of our Super Saturday clinic was about providing lots of education for children and families to make sure they are keeping a regular routine with their preventer inhalers. This is especially important after summer where children have had time away from the busy school environment and are transitioning back into it. Each patient was also given an individualised asthma plan and we talked about what they should do in an emergency – including making sure that each patient has the relevant spacers and inhalers for the new school term.”

Emma has known James for most of his life and remembers when he first started coming to Sheffield Children’s over 10 years ago. James can’t remember much about the time he spent in hospital when he was younger but he did ask his mum Kelly if his Super Saturday appointment was a “talk and listen” appointment as he remembers some of those. Kelly said: “Even though James was small I think he did always know that the people here were trying to help him”.

Emma said: “When James was younger he used to be in and out of hospital a lot with infections and complications from asthma. He was very poorly at times. It’s been a little while since I last saw James so it’s been really lovely to see him and his family again today. I can’t believe how much him – and his brother Ben – have grown! As well as providing lots of educational advice in the appointments today we’ve been checking lung function which is what we usually do as part of our reviews. Fortunately, James’ lung function was usual for him today, and we’re hoping it stays that way over winter.”

Sheffield Children’s is like a “home away from home” for James’ parents who can still remember the days when James was very poorly and it felt like they lived at the hospital.

Kelly said: “There were times when it was really scary when James was younger. He spent time in ICU and we had so many teams looking into the reasons why James couldn’t breathe. We always felt really looked after by all the different members of staff and it felt like the Respiratory team were leading the way with making sure that we ruled everything out. I can remember one time when we were in ICU and a consultant came and popped their head round the door just to see how we were doing. It was really appreciated.”

Mike, James’s dad, said: “As James grew up and his lungs were able to grow, we did see improvement in his asthma and – fingers crossed – we’re able to manage his asthma with medication and the right inhalers now. James has also started being responsible for taking his own inhalers which is great.”

Very excitingly, James is starting high school this week and he’s most looking forward to geography and science lessons. We’re sure he’s going to smash this next stage of life!

Kelly said: “We’re really grateful for the opportunity to come in for an appointment on a Saturday so that James doesn’t have to miss any lessons and time with friends, especially when he’ll be finding his feet at secondary school.”

Good luck at your new school James, it’s wonderful to see you doing so well.


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