Tuesday 17th November 2020 was World Prematurity Day, a day which aims to raise global awareness of premature birth and highlight the impact that it can have on families. Around one in 13 babies born in the UK will be born prematurely.
St Peter’s Hospital, part of Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has the only level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Surrey and has the appropriate staff, equipment, skills and experience to provide this highest level of intensive care for the smallest and sickest newborn babies. Last year, 650 babies and their families were cared for on the unit.
The Little Roo Neonatal Fund is the charity for the NICU at St Peter’s Hospital and is part of the Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital Charitable Trust. Little Roo helps raise money to fund the equipment, skills and experience necessary to provide care for the babies that are born before 32 weeks or those that are seriously ill.
Little Roo Neonatal Fund raises money through events, such as the recent Little Roo Paddle Crew Challenge, where staff and friends of St Peter’s NICU kayak 50 miles down the River Thames – from Oxfordshire to Chertsey.
The charity also forms partnerships with companies such as Procter and Gamble, whose staff recently raised over £41,000 for the Little Roo Neonatal Fund. This donation will be used to purchase a new incubator and other equipment for the NICU at St Peter’s.
On Tuesday 17th November, Abbey Wing at St Peter’s was lit up purple to raise awareness of prematurity and the vital care being given by the St Peter’s NICU. The colour purple is associated with World Prematurity Day as it stands for sensitivity and exceptionality.
Brother and sister, Dexter and Holly, were both born at St Peter’s Hospital. Dexter was born at 23+1 weeks and Holly at 23+6 weeks and both were treated by the staff in NICU because of the specialist equipment and nurses at the hospital.
Dexter and Holly’s mum, said: “Every World Prematurity Day I take a picture of our little miracles who were both born at 23 weeks at St Peter’s Hospital. I hope this will raise awareness of prematurity, and give hope to other parents who may be facing a similar situation.
“Holly and Dexter both had a long four month stay in NICU and we saw first-hand the incredible and awe-inspiring work they do to give babies every chance of life. We will be forever grateful to the NICU team for our precious children.”
Dr Peter Reynolds, Consultant Neonatologist at Ashford at St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is fantastic to see Holly and Dexter enjoying life. We always strive for brilliant outcomes, and it is great for the team when we see that our hard work is paying off. Little Roo helps us in being able to provide world-class care here at St. Peter’s. I’d like to thank the supporters of Little Roo whose donations are really making a vital difference to babies who are unwell or born prematurely."
Pictured above: Holly and Dexter