Two years ago, little Ella-Rose weighed less than a bag of sugar and was fighting for her life in hospital. To look at her now, you would never know just how much this ‘preemie warrior’ has been through.
To mark World Prematurity Day on Tuesday 17 November, Ella-Rose’s mum, Sophie Williams, is raising awareness about the support available to families of premature babies in hospital from The Sick Children’s Trust. The charity gives over 600 families with a baby, many who have been born premature, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) one less thing to worry about by giving them a place to stay, free of charge just minutes from their child’s bedside.
Ella-Rose was born three months early at 26 weeks when Sophie had to have an emergency caesarean following a serious case of preeclampsia. Ella-Rose spent three months in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, 20 miles away from her family’s home in County Durham, fighting for her life. During this time, Sophie was given a place to stay by The Sick Children’s Trust at its ‘Home from Home’ Crawford House, just a few minutes’ walk away from her daughter’s incubator. Sophie said:
“Ella-Rose was the tiniest baby I had ever seen but I knew from the moment that I saw her that she was a fighter.
“My daughter has come a long way since she was born, defying so many odds set against her. As she was so early, we expected there to be a few bumps along the way but she’s just thrived. She’s at nursery, can hold a pencil and draw and she’s just started to talk. She is amazing.
“While Ella-Rose is doing well, with the pandemic I can’t help but think of what would happen in this situation now. There was about a week where I was separated from my baby and every moment apart from her filled me with fear and anxiety as she was so poorly. When I was given a place to stay at The Sick Children’s Trust’s Crawford House, those feelings lessened and I could focus on my baby, bond with her and be there for her.
“Every parent with a premature baby should be able to be with their child when they’re in hospital, which is why I’m helping to raise awareness for The Sick Children’s Trust this World Prematurity Day. The charity made a huge difference to me, especially as I lived so far away and didn’t have to spend time travelling to be with her. Crawford House made everything so much better just as I was close by, and in times like these it is more important than ever for families to remain together. A donation of £30 to The Sick Children’s Trust could give a family a place to stay and I know just how much that would mean to a preemie parent.”
At a time when everything is uncertain The Sick Children’s Trust gives families some stability in their day-to-day life, by supporting them with a place to stay close to their baby. Evidence shows better outcomes for babies when their mums and dads are involved in providing hands-on care while they are in hospital, as Sophie was able to do due to having a ‘Home from Home’ at Crawford House. Jane Featherstone, Chief Executive at The Sick Children’s Trust, said:
“We met Ella-Rose at the most fragile time of her life and helped to keep her mum right by her side. We are delighted to see how far she has come in the last two years and we know she will continue to thrive.
“Tuesday 17 November marks World Prematurity Day and while we know this year has been a challenging one for everyone, we are asking the public to consider making a £30 donation to The Sick Children’s Trust to support families with premature babies in hospital. This money will go directly towards giving a family like Sophie’s a place to stay close to their baby’s bedside, keeping a family together, and the doors of our ‘Homes from Home’ open.”