A Claygate dad who had been told by Cardiff doctors to say goodbye to his sepsis-stricken son will be walking 171-miles to thank the London hospital that eventually saved him.

David Boyce, 51, an IT consultant from Surrey, will be setting off on Saturday, September 8 from Cardiff, where his son Tom was taken to hospital last October after feeling unwell.

Tom, 19, a geology student at Cardiff University, said: "I remember feeling unwell before playing rugby. I was tired, out of breath and my heart was beating fast but I played anyway.

“The next morning I felt worse and went to the hospital in Cardiff.”

Tom’s family were instructed to say their goodbyes to him because his heart and lungs were failing, due to a pneumonia which had led to sepsis.

As a last attempt to save him, University Hospital of Wales transferred Tom to a specialist unit at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, where he received life-saving treatment.

Tom arrived to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in the middle of the night and was put on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine (ECMO) for nearly a week.

The piece of specialist equipment allows organs to heal by taking blood from the body, adding oxygen, removing carbon dioxide and then returning it to the body.

Tom said: “I’m about to restart my geology degree at Cardiff University and to look at me you wouldn’t think anything was wrong with me.

“My heart is working normally now and I don’t need another appointment until next year. The whole experience has made me value people more, especially my family, and I’ll miss them when I go back to university.”

His dad added: “Along with our other sons Harry and William, we said goodbye to Tom. It was awful and every parent’s nightmare.

“Once he was receiving the therapy we felt it was the first positive step. It’s symbolic for why I’m doing the walk. There was finally hope.”

“Tom wouldn’t be alive without ECMO. Sometimes I look at him and can’t believe he’s here. We’ve been through a lot as a family and it’s made us even stronger.”

The 51-year old will be walking up to 30 miles a day for six days to raise money for the ECMO service at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital.

He hopes to raise £10,000 to contribute to ECMO equipment, resources and training, will be joined by Tom for the first and last day of the walk

Mr Boyce said: “I am nervous about the walk because I’ve never done anything like this before but it will all be worth it. The last day of the walk will be my birthday which will be a great way to celebrate.”

You can donate to David Boyce’s fundraising campaign on www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/Walk4ECMO.