Brave Essex mum Tegan Scrivener is undertaking a tandem skydive this weekend to raise money for The Sick Children’s Trust, the charity that supported her family with a place to stay while baby son Herbert – who was born weighing 2lb, 10oz – was in hospital in 2016.
Mum-of-six Tegan, from Purleigh, near Maldon, will be completing her 10,000ft jump on Sunday 21 August. The money raised will help The Sick Children’s Trust continue supporting families by providing welcoming, comfortable ‘Homes from Home’ located just minutes from their child’s hospital bedside.
Baby Herbert with sister Violet, dad Neil and mum Tegan.
Having stopped growing due to the placenta not functioning correctly, baby Herbert was born 32 weeks into Tegan’s pregnancy, being delivered at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. Herbert was quickly diagnosed with a perforated bowel, which caused his stomach to dramatically expand and required urgent surgery. He was taken by ambulance to The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, over 60 miles away from Southminster, where the Scrivener family lived at the time. Mum Tegan said:
“I only saw Herbert for a few moments before he was rushed into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We all knew that something wasn’t right because his tummy was blowing up like a balloon. The amazing PaNDR (Neonatal Decision and Support Retrieval) team took him Cambridge under blue lights. I couldn’t travel because I was quite poorly myself, so Neil, my other half, went in the ambulance with the PaNDR team doing everything they could to reassure Neil on route. However, as the medical team at The Rosie needed me to sign the forms that would allow them to proceed with Herbert’s operation, my sister-in-law took me to Cambridge later that day.
“I remember getting there, signing the forms, and then suffering an agonising wait for news. With Herbert being so tiny we knew there was a chance he might not make it through, which made things almost unbearable.
“It was such a huge relief to see him afterwards. Herbert had a stoma created during the surgery on his bowel. He was fitted with a tube to feed breast milk directly into his stomach, which would hopefully help him to grow – he had dropped to 2lb 7oz at this stage. He turned out to be lactose intolerant, so we had to switch to lactose-free milk power. He really struggled to gain weight.”
During their time in Cambridge, Tegan stayed at Chestnut House, a ‘Home from Home’ run by The Sick Children’s Trust that serves The Rosie Hospital. Tegan said:
“We were so relieved when we found out that we had a place to stay. Being stressed and mentally exhausted, that news was like a ray of sunshine. Having a room so close to our baby made life so much easier, especially as it meant we wouldn’t have to travel to and from Southminster all the time, which would have been almost impossible. It helped to keep our family together, as my other children could come and visit. It was the first time I’d ever been away from my children, so that was important not just for them, but for me also.”
Herbert with brother Wills and mum Tegan.
After four weeks, Herbert had gained enough weight to transferred back to Broomfield Hospital. However, the drama did not stop there, with Herbert falling ill with both Rotavirus and Adenovirus, being blue-lighted back to Cambridge for a blood transfusion. Much to Tegan’s relief, The Sick Children’s Trust was again on hand to provide a room in their Home from Home for a week until Herbert was well enough to return to Broomfield. Tegan said:
“I’m so pleased to say that he’s doing brilliantly now. You’d never know he’d had these issues as a baby Herbert is the youngest of my six children and was clearly the troublemaker. It is why he is called Herbert, and at that time he certainly lived up to his name!”
The Scrivener family remain eternally grateful by the support they received, with Tegan now taking part in The Sick Children’s Trust’s 40 skydivers challenge in celebration of the charity’s 40th anniversary. Regarding how he she is feeling ahead of the jump, Tegan said:
“When I think about it, I get nervous. I think once you’ve got children you gain more self-preservation, you think about what can go wrong. It’s a bit more wariness now. The thought of leaving your children behind can be quite scary.”
This year The Sick Children’s Trust is celebrating its 40th anniversary and since 1982 it has supported over 73,000 families, like Tegan’s, with a free place to stay close to their seriously ill child’s hospital bedside. Community Fundraising Officer, Charlotte Coldrey, said:
“The bravery of our fundraisers never ceases to amaze me, so I cannot express the admiration I have for Tegan and all 40 of the skydivers who are taking on this challenge in recognition of our 40thAnniversary. It is a wonderful milestone for The Sick Children’s Trust and it’s fantastic to have 40 committed supporters who are willing to take on this challenge to raise money and mark the occasion.
“As a charity we rely on the generosity of our supporters and fundraisers like Tegan to make sure we can continue to be there supporting more families. While we do not charge families to stay in any of our ten ‘Homes from Home’, it does cost the charity £40 to support a family for one night.”
More information about Tegan’s skydive challenge can be found on her Facebook donate page: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1434588237006096/
A happy, healthy Herbert celebrated his sixth birthday earlier this year.