Friends and family of a toddler who cheated death when she fell on a pencil which lodged in her brain have donated toys worth thousands of pounds to the hospital which helped save her life.
Three-year-old Wren Bowell was just a millimetre away from a deadly injury when she tripped over a stairgate at her home at Peasdown St John in March and landed on the pencil which she had been carrying in her hand.
The pencil went through her eye socket and into her brain, narrowly missing her eyeball before lodging 3.8 cm – an inch and a half – into her brain.
Wren was rushed to Frenchay Hospital where neurosurgeons operated on her for four hours – opening up her skull so they could take the pencil out.
Miraculously Wren, who spent four days in intensive care before moving on to the Barbara Russell Children’s Ward at the hospital, suffered no permanent damage.
The surgeon who operated on the toddler said she was “incredibly lucky”, as other people who suffered similar injuries had died or suffered permanent brain damage.
To aid her recovery Wren spent the next three and a half weeks on the ward where she was given intravenous antibiotics for an infection.
It was during that time that she and parents Martyn and Michelle spent hours in the ward’s nursery, playing with toys and taking part in craft activities.
Her family was so impressed with the ward and the care it offered Wren they wanted to give something back so started to raise money.
Martyn, 34, took part in a 60-mile sponsored cycle ride from Stratton-on-the-Fosse to Weymouth, and his sister Laura Moore raised £450 from a craft and cake sale and raffle, taking the total for the ward to £1,700.
And at the weekend friends and family went to Toys R Us at Cribbs Causeway where they spent the money filling trollies with new toys for youngsters in the ward.
Bosses at the toy store agreed to give Mr Bowell a 20 per cent discount, taking the total amount spent on goodies for the hospital to £2,000.
Mr Bowell said: “A corner room on the ward is set up as a nursery with some outdoor space as well where the children can ride trikes and buggies.
“But a lot of the toys are worn out so we decided to raise money to buy some more.
“The toys and games provided by the play team at Frenchay provided a distraction for Wren on a daily basis for those three and a half weeks.
“That kept her sane and therefore kept us sane, because we didn’t leave her side.
“The hospital did a marvellous job with Wren and we just wanted to give something back which would benefit other children.”
A special till was opened at the store for the Bowells and they were joined by members of Frenchay’s play team and store staff who helped them choose toys and other equipment that would be good for the children on the ward.
Wren’s family and friends also raised £2,000 for brain injury rehabilitation charity Headway from the sponsored cycle held in August.
Thirteen friends and family took part in the challenge to raise money for the Bristol branch of the charity.
Wren has now made a full recovery and is running around the same as any other energetic three-year-old.
Mr Bowell, a model maker, said: “We are really pleased with Wren’s progress.
“She is bouncing around as normal and has 20/20 vision.
“She really is a miracle child.”