The parents of twin babies and their friends will set off on a mammoth sponsored walk from the Cumberland Infirmary to the RVI in Newcastle this weekend to raise money for hospital wards who cared for their twin daughters.
Simon and Megan Richardson’s daughters Martha and Betty, received care at both hospitals after developing a cough and sniffle three weeks after they were born.
Simon and Megan, from near Dalston outside Carlisle, will walk from Carlisle to Newcastle – a distance of 111km over Hadrian’s Wall - to raise cash for the Children’s Ward at the Cumberland Infirmary and the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation.
This weekend is the first anniversary of them being admitted to hospital.
“Martha eventually stopped feeding and it was decided both our girls should be admitted to the Children’s Ward at the Cumberland Infirmary. Over the weekend both of them were put on oxygen and fed by a tube and we were told they had bronchiolitis (little did we know an all too common virus).
“This virus creates a lot of sticky mucus which drips onto your lungs, making it incredibly difficult to breathe. Four days into our stay - and given that Betty was only 4lb 14oz at birth - her lungs were incredibly small and she started to really struggle. Essentially her lungs just could not supply the oxygen her body needed and the NHS had to act!
“Betty was intubated at Carlisle and with a Doctor using a bag to breathe for her we waited for NECTAR (North East and Cumbria Transport and Retrieval Team) – this unbelievable service is a retrieval service for children who need specialist care. They sent over a paediatric consultant and specialist nurse from the Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to ensure that Betty had the best care possible in her transfer over to the RVI. It had everything they needed for an intubated baby – essentially it was a mobile ventilator.
“Betty then spent 11 heart wrenching days on a ventilator on PICU at the RVI. This was a whole new world of learning for us as we watched, helpless, as doctors and nurses took over her care! She had tubes, needles and wires everywhere! All this time Martha was still in the Cumberland Infirmary (with her Granny and daily visits from Sim or I), still incredibly poorly and Molly was at home with Auntie MJ.
“After four weeks our girls pulled round, Martha was discharged first, Betty was moved back to Carlisle (Via NECTAR) and eventually discharged seven days after Martha. I am in no doubt that without the incredible Children’s Ward at Carlisle and NECTAR that our little Betty Boo would not have survived and we will be for ever grateful to the NHS for looking after Moo and Boo.
“We would be extremely grateful if you could donate to these two lifesaving organisations to support every child during such a critical time.”
The twin’s grandmother Edith McColgan added:
“Betty most definitely would not have survived without the lifesaving equipment at the RVI and the care they both received at Carlisle was incredible. We owe everything to the nursing staff at these hospitals and thanks to their support I have two beautiful perfect granddaughters. I will forever be in their debt.”
Claire Moore, matron for women and children’s services at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Trust said:
“We are delighted that Simon and Megan are supporting the ward in this way, we are extremely grateful for their kindness. Our staff are very dedicated and we are very humbled that Simon and Megan have chosen to say thank you to us in this way. We wish Simon and Megan the very best of luck – the challenge is not an easy one!”
Simon and Megan will set off with their friends and family from the Cumberland infirmary at 6am on Saturday 28th May.
To support Simon and Megan, please visit the Crowdfunding page.