A team of intrepid Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeons from the University Hospital for Wales (UHW) are gearing up for a cycle challenge around the coast of Wales at the end of June.

The surgeons are raising money for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity and will see their funds spent in the orthopaedic department when Phase Two of the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital forWalesis open.

In one of the busiest departments at UHW, the orthopaedic surgeons carry out 1000 operations every year and see up to 12,000 children in outpatient clinics. In Phase Two, there will be five operating theatres dedicated to paediatric patients who currently are operated on during sessions at the adult theatres.

Cheering on the riders will be 14 year old Tiago De Brito Micallef whose professional tennis career has been saved by the fantastic skills of two of the ride’s surgeons Mr Phill Thomas and Ms Claire Carpenter.

After suffering from on-going back pain and finding it difficult to bend for drop shots Tiago sought an investigation with chiropractors in Treforest who immediately referred him to Mr Thomas. Tiago was suffering from a severe slipped upper femoral epiphysis on both sides of his hips and was stopped immediately from bearing any weight while waiting for surgery to prevent any further damage. Tiago’s operation took place 6 weeks later in early March; he spent 13 days in the children’s wards with plaster and a bar preventing any movement at all for 11 days. He says ‘Seeing other children come and go was very hard’.

Following a period of partial weight bearing with crutches Tiago is now able to fully bear his own weight and the No 1 tennis player in Wales for his age is looking forward to picking up his racket again with the aim of returning to competition in 2014.

Tiago’s mother, Maria said “It was expected that the operation would take three to four hours;  it eventually took approximately seven. The last couple of hours especially were very anxious as the only news we received was that he was still in theatre. When Mr Thomas met with us after coming out of surgery all we wanted to hear was that he was awake and well.”

Tiago remained in hospital for eleven nights, I slept there.   He was in enormous amounts of pain and it was heart breaking to see. Tiago was extremely fortunate as he was in the hands of Dr Phill Thomas and Dr Clare Carpenter to whom I cannot speak highly enough.   Post operation they came to see Tiago, they were very pleased with how the operation had gone expecting him to make a full recovery.

It was a very difficult and emotional time and was summed up when at one point he held my hand and because he had tears in his eyes he said “I’m sorry Mum, I’m trying but I’m in so much pain I can’t take any more.”

During this time Tiago wanted his big sister Antonia (who doesn’t play tennis herself ) with him all the time.  She came each day and stayed well into each night with him and would not leave his side. He found great strength from her and they are now even closer.

Now three months down the line after only now being able to come out of a wheelchair it’s incredible to see how the body recovers. Tiago has shown enormous amounts of character physically, but also psychologically.  We have no doubt that his tennis background has helped him through this period. It will be a hard difficult road back for Tiago but with all the incredible people he has around him I’m sure he’s going to be fine.”

The surgeons set off on June 30th from Flint to tackle 610 miles over 5 days and have already raised £1600.  They would welcome further support which can be given through Just Giving http://www.justgiving.com/hemmadis  or donations can be sent to Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity.

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