It may have been his first open water swim event but it certainly wasn't Harrison's first time racing against a clock. Last year, the team at King's College Hospital raced to save Harrison's left arm after a nasty break. Now, healthy and well, Harrison decided to fundraise for King's College Hospital Charity by swimming in his first open water event at Hever Castle.
In March 2019, just ten minutes after entering a trampoline park, Harrison fell and landed awkwardly on his arm.
"I knew straight away that my arm was broken” Harrison says. “I didn’t know how serious it was at the time."
After rushing to A&E, the doctors at Harrison's local hospital struggled to find a pulse on his left wrist.
Not only had the fall broken his humerous bone, but it had also crushed the arteries in Harrison’s arm, impeding the blood flow. He was rushed into surgery and surgeons worked to try to repair the damage. Time was of the essense.
"The Doctors told my mum and dad just how bad my accident actually was" Harrison says.
"They had 6 to 7 hrs to save my arm, starting from the time the artery was crushed."
Three hours later, the news was not good. The surgeons spoke to Harrison’s parents, Sarah and Anthony, to say that they had done everything possible, but the surgery was unsuccessful.
With every passing minute, the chances of saving Harrison’s arm became slimmer. He was rushed to King’s College Hospital where an Orthopaedic Surgeon began work on fixing his bone, and a Vascular Surgeon simultaneously worked on repairing his arteries.
Miraculously, at 4:00am, the operations were declared a success. They had beaten the clock, saved his arm, and the race was over.
After four days in the Children’s Ward recovering, Harrison was able to go home and, to the amazement of his Orthopedic Surgeon, get back to swimming just four months after his surgery. To thank the Hospital Heroes who saved his arm, Harrison decided to raise money for King's College Hospital Charity by entering his first open water swimming event: a one mile race at Hever Castle.
"You never really know how good our NHS is without being in that situation."
The water at Hever Castle was 13 degrees, and out of the 85 competitors completing the open water event, Harrison was by far the youngest. But despite the chill, the event went swimmingly. Harrison's overall finish position was 7th place and he came 3rd in the male category.
"As he climbed out of the cold water to the finishing line you could see how happy he was. For us a parents we were quite emotional" Anthony says.
"We are so proud of the hurdles he has had to overcome and how quickly he has bounced back considering how bad his injuries were."
Harrison was given a medal as a reminder of his racing efforts, and just like the scar on his left arm, it is something Harrison wears proudly.
"I tell the girls I had to fight off a shark!" he says.