A mother has spoken of her ‘heartbreaking’ experience after her son Joe was born eight weeks premature, and the campaign her and her husband launched to help the staff who saved him.
Baby Joe Tingey was born eight weeks early in December 2015 and spent five weeks in Worthing Hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit.
After her son was born, mother Alison Tingey, 32, was kept in hospital for a week, which meant that she could visit Joe whenever she wanted.
“When that week was up and I finally got discharged and sent home, it was without doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” said Alison.
“Walking out of the hospital and leaving my son in special care was absolutely heartbreaking.
“He was so small and vulnerable and I couldn’t help but feel that I was abandoning him.”
However with Joe receiving constant care Alison was at least able to call at any time of day or night, and would go in to visit him, often twice a day while her husband Dean, 31, had to work.
“Joe was in hospital for Christmas Day - everybody looks forward to their first Christmas with their baby, and we had to face up to the fact that we would be spending ours sat by the side of his incubator.”
Alison spoke of how her and her husband, who live in Durrington, were unable to hold their baby, as she said being picked up can tire a premature baby.
However she was full of praise for the staff at the baby unit and the difference they made to the time Joe spent there.
“Not only are they very knowledgable and proficient in their jobs, they are simply angels when it comes to looking after the parents too!”
Discharged in January this year, Joe is now ten months old and ‘coming on in leaps and bounds’, Alison says.
Now Alison and Dean are trying to raise money for the hospital unit who did so much for their son, after finding out how much of its vital equipment isn’t covered by normal funding.
An incubator costs more than £30,000, Alison says. Joe’s parents set up a crowdfunding page to show their gratitude, with an original target of £200.
“We had intended just to ask friends and family that instead of giving Joe a present for his 1st birthday, they donate to our cause,” said Alison, but donations have come in from all over.
They reached their £200 target within 4 hours of setting the page up, with donations still coming in. The couple have until the end of Novemeber to raise as much as they can.
“The more money we can raise, the closer the unit will be to acquiring the expensive equipment they so desperately need, and more lives will be saved, just like Joe’s.”
Alison and Dean have raised almost £1,000 at the time of writing. Members of the public who wish to donate can do so on their JustGiving page.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.