FIVE-YEAR-OLD William Gent faces a long stint in the Oxford Children’s Hospital ahead of a fourth operation to straighten his spine.

But his mum Katy said staff have put the whole family at ease and she has now signed up for the Oxford Mail’s OX5 Run to give something back.

William was born with congenital kypho-scoliosis, a condition which means his spine did not form properly in the womb and does not grow straight.

The Bampton boy has already had three operations at the children’s hospital and faces a four-month stay before more surgery later this year.

Mrs Gent said: “It will be a long stay this time but the hospital staff are amazing with all of us and William is always happy to come here.

“The fact he is happy to come to a hospital is testament to the staff. They make what could be a very stressful time as comfortable as possible.’’ The primary school teacher added: “Either myself of my husband Daniel stay here with him every night and we are able to spend our weekends with him.

“The operations to straighten William’s spine are vital because as he grows a curve could have a damaging impact on his lungs and heart.”

The Bampton Primary School pupil will have halo gravity traction treatment – a rare procedure which involves gently pulling tissue – to reduce the curvature of his spine before an operation to further straighten it, which could take up to four months.

William’s parents – both teachers in the county – and their three-year-old daughter Emily are facing regular visits to the hospital for the foreseeable future, but Mrs Gent said the whole family were made to feel welcome.

The 37-year-old added: “It’s very scary for us as well, and as two teachers we were anxious he would not develop socially, as he would miss lots of school.

“But he has made some great friends at the hospital and the play specialists there have been amazing. He goes to the hospital school and loves it. Emily is there a lot too and the staff are always finding things for her to do.”

Team Will Power, made up of family and friends from Bampton, will take on the Oxford Mail’s OX5 Run on Sunday, April 17.

The OX5 is being sponsored by recruitment firm Allen Associates for the eighth year.

Last year’s event raised £106,000 for the hospital and the run, now in its 14th year, has chalked up more than £850,000.

The money is used to fund medical equipment and other aspects of children’s care. You can sign up online by going to