19 and a half months ago, Phil and I sat in the Neo Natal unit of James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough faced with one of the most challenging times of our life. We were so overwhelmed by the situation that we were in, that at that point we made a pact that if we were ever in a position to do any fundraising it would be for premature babies.
The support and care we got was unbelievable. It opened our eyes to this hidden world of premature babies, their families and the amazing work of the professors, doctors and nurses in those units. it is not something we’d come across before – we didn’t really know anyone who had had a prem baby. Or if we did, didn’t realise what it was all about.
So, since April turned 1 we have been doing loads of fundraising. We are so excited to announce that as of June 2017 we have now raised just over £11,000!!!!!! We are completely gobsmacked. Gobsmacked by everybody’s support and generosity.
We have been able to donate £2,000 to the Cumberland Infirmary Special Care Baby Unit, £4,000 to James Cook NICU and £5,000 to BLISS – the charity for premature babies.
How we did it:
In October we hosted a party night and auction. The event was great and I think there were a few bad heads the next day! We had some amazing prizes donated like tickets to see the Cirque du Soleil, the naming of an Eddie Stobart Truck, Mini i-Pad, a weekend break in Blackpool and Liverpool, a pressure washer…the list went on! We raised £4,000 from the auction alone!
Next up my Mam and her friend decided they would throw themselves out of a plane and do a skydive! My Mam decided that Mother’s Day would be a good day to do this. I guess as she is April’s Nana and also to honour her Mam (my Nana) who is no longer with us. She was a wreck in the morning and I could hardly get two words out of her! I thought once she was up in the plane and was gliding down looking across Morecambe Bay she would enjoy it, but she hated every minute of it! She was as white as a sheet when she finished. I certainly don’t think it is something she will be repeating! I have a new found respect for my Mam – she is amazing! Between her and her friend Jenny, they raised almost £2,000.
Along the way, people have offered to do events to raise money for us as well. A couple of Phil’s colleagues did the Fireball Rally Challenge; a 4-day rally across 8 different countries. The owners of Twinkletoes in Penrith also did a 24 hour cycle in their shop and raised over £500 for us and Phil’s Mum’s best friend held a raffle at work to raise money too!
Most recently, Phil ran the London Marathon. He was so determined to do something to raise money and kept going through those long winter nights with his training when it was battering down with rain or snowing. I kept telling him “you’re doing it for the babies.” His training was going so well until he was struck down wit an injury in February. He damaged his Achilles tendon, which really set back his training. He was unable to do any running – his ankle would swell up even after Park Run. So for the next couple of months, he kept up his fitness by swimming and spinning. He is the most determined and competitive person I’ve met and didn’t let it defeat him. He ran the Marathon in style – with a smile on his face…and even a kiss and cuddle for us along the way! I was so proud of him as he ran it in 4 hours 19 mins, with an injury at that!
I’m not going to lie…I was quite glad the training was over. Although now he’s talking about entering again next year or even doing an IronMan!!!!! Must be nuts! I’ll stick to my event organising and he can take care of the physical stuff!
That leads me nicely on to our next event…a sponsored walk for the little ones! Click here for more information and how to join in!
At the weekend, we returned to James Cook NICU. The money we have donated has enabled the unit to buy a new Phillips monitor. If you’ve ever been in a NICU it’s what makes all the beeping. The machine basically monitors the baby’s vital stats including oxygen, heart rate etc. As soon as we walked back on the unit you could hear the beeping and it made me shiver.
Last time we had gone back, just after Aprils’ birthday I had felt quite emotional, but I felt a lot stronger this time. I felt a bit apprehensive on the way there, but it was so lovely to see a couple of the nurses who looked after her. They showed us the new monitor and I felt so proud that we had been able to do a little bit to help. It only scratches the surface of all the money a unit like that needs to keep tiny babies alive, but it was our way of saying thank you and helping more babies have a fighting chance of survival like April 🙂
We would like to say a really heartfelt thank you to everyone who has donated money or prizes, written cheques, helped with events and given us support to do this! There are too many people to name, so thank you – you all mean the world to us and you can join us in feeling proud that you’ve helped us help more babies’ lives!