A DAD whose three-week-old baby was rushed into Oxford Children’s Hospital with breathing difficulties is one of 700 people who have now signed up to run next month’s OX5 Run.

Stephen Pilton took Lena, now a happy and healthy 18 months, to the accident and emergency department when she stopped feeding in December 2012.

Within minutes of arriving Lena was whisked away and diagnosed with bronchiolitis. But, after a week in hospital, Lena was able to spend her first Christmas at home in Green Ridges, Barton, with her dad, brother Adam, four, and mum Karolina, 35.

Mr Pilton, a 34-year-old language school manager, said: “We really had no idea what was going on and when we went to the waiting room it was really busy, we expected to be there for a while.

“But practically before I had even taken my coat off I was ushered in by doctors who were checking her over and fitting pipes to her. It was a shock because we didn’t think it was that serious at first.

“Seeing your three-week-old baby with feeding tubes and on a big bed to have an X-ray was difficult.

“But everyone was so friendly and helpful. Sometimes you get the impression you don’t want to bother people because they are so busy.

“Staff were busy but never too busy to help you.

“It was coming up to her first Christmas and we were panicking about whether we would have to spend it in hospital, but they were so good and we were out within a week.”

And he added: “Running the OX5 and raising money for the hospital is my way of saying thanks.”

The run, which is the Oxford Children’s Hospital’s biggest annual fundraiser, last year raised £98,000 for new equipment.

This year organisers are hoping to break the £100,000 barrier.

Children’s hospital spokesman Sarah Vaccari said: “We’re really pleased that Stephen’s daughter has recovered well and that he is now taking part in the OX5 Run.

“Last year’s run funded lots of amazing medical equipment, including two open incubators that are now often used to help babies who have bronchiolitis, so Stephen couldn't have picked a better way to thank the staff.

“No one knows when their child or grandchild may need the children's hospital and this event is your chance to help make a real difference to our young patients.”

The OX5 Run, which is organised by the Oxford Mail and sponsored by Allen Associates, is now in its 12th year. It has raised more than £500,000 so far.

This year’s run will take place in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, on Sunday, March 30, at 10.30am. It costs £10 to enter and runners are asked to aim to raise £100 or more.

To take part fill in the form oppostie or sign up by visiting our website oxfordmail.co.uk/ox5run