Now I’ll never forget who saved my son – Norwich mum’s tattoo tribute to hospital

Natasha Riches with son Tyler and her GOSH tattoo.  Photo: Bill Smith Natasha Riches with son Tyler and her GOSH tattoo. Photo: Bill Smith

Friday, October 5, 2012
8:00 AM

For Norwich mum Natasha Riches, nothing she does can ever repay the debt she owes to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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Natasha Riches with son Tyler and her GOSH tattoo.  Photo: Bill SmithNatasha Riches with son Tyler and her GOSH tattoo. Photo: Bill Smith

For Norwich mum Natasha Riches, nothing she does can ever repay the debt she owes to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

It was there that surgeons fixed a hole in the tiny heart of her only son, Tyler, when he was just 11 weeks old.

Now, six years on, Tyler is a fit and active boy who is never happier than when he is at football practice with friends or learning to play the drums, but his mother still remembers the sickness she felt as she waited for him to emerge from the four-hour operation.

Her latest fundraising idea, to have the hospital’s famous logo tattooed on her arm, took the total she has raised to beyond £6,000 and ensured that she will carry with her forever a reminder of how doctors saved her son’s life.

“I can’t thank them enough,” said Miss Riches, of Heartsease. “My family and I are so eternally grateful to the doctors and nurses.

“The hospital relies on people’s donations, so every year I try to come up with a way of doing my bit, and my friends and family always get behind it. I couldn’t do it without them.”

The idea to have the Great Ormond Street logo tattooed was suggested by a friend, and the new artwork sits just above Miss Riches’ tattoo of her son’s name.

“The hospital said they didn’t think anyone had done it before, and that it was a really nice gesture,” said the 38-year-old.

Doctors diagnosed the hole in Tyler’s heart two months before he was born, but realised the hole had not healed when he was rushed to hospital in Norwich at four weeks old. He was then referred to experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London, where it was decided he needed an operation. Miss Riches praised the “amazing” staff who helped her son back to full health after the four-hour operation, during which he needed two blood transfusions.

“When he came out he had tubes coming out of his head, his chest, his nose. I literally fell on the floor in disbelief.

“They try to prepare you for it, but it’s still your child and he was just a baby.”

Six years later, Tyler is a pupil at Heartsease Primary School, with the scars on his chest the only clue to what he has been through.

A spokesman from Great Ormond Street Hospital thanked Miss Riches for her work over several years.

“We are constantly amazed by the imaginative and innovative things that members of the public and GOSH families do to generate funds for the hospital,” she said.

“We hope Natasha’s latest idea didn’t cause her too much discomfort!”

Are you doing something amazing for charity? Call reporter Mark Shields on 01603 772423 or email mark.shields@archant.co.uk

4 comments

  • What a great idea! You need never forget your 'phone number again with some discrete ink on your forearm.

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Friday, October 5, 2012

  • NorfOik

    Friday, October 5, 2012

  • What a lovely way to remember, and also bring awareness to Great Ormond street.

    Report this comment

    PINKDEADHUNTER

    Friday, October 5, 2012

  • NorfOik

    Friday, October 5, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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