Published on 31 August 2021
A couple whose newborn son spent more than 100 days in intensive care have raised hundreds of pounds to help the NHS team care for other premature babies.
Joanna Dixon and her husband Thomas, from Folkestone, enlisted friends and family to complete a five-kilometre inflatable obstacle course in aid of East Kent Hospitals Charity’s Tiny Toes appeal, supporting the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the William Harvey Hospital.
Their youngest son Zachary was born in February, three months early, and weighed just 2lb 12oz. He spent 102 days being cared for by staff at the unit.
Joanna said: “We’ll forever feel that we cannot thank them enough for keeping our son alive so we decided to do the obstacle course fundraiser as a way of giving something back.
“It was a tough challenge but it was fun and so worthwhile as a small way of us showing our appreciation for the care and support we received on Zachary’s journey.”
The tot is now home with his family and thriving, and the money will help other families whose babies need to spend time in the unit.
Joanna said: “Tiny Toes is an amazing charity that is close to our hearts.
“The NICU team are extremely caring and informative and we will forever feel in their debt for keeping our little boy alive and helping him to push through those first few months of life, when he should still have been developing in the womb.
“The hardest thing was having to say goodbye each day and walk out of the hospital leaving him behind, rather than home with us and his brother Arlo.
“But the nurses treated him with so much care that they took him on as their own and we always knew he was in the best hands.”
Little Zach had to overcome a host of problems due to his early arrival, needing ventilation to help him breathe and receiving multiple blood transfusions. He needed brain and heart scans, fought off suspected sepsis twice, and regularly suffered alarming drops in his heart rate and oxygen levels.
But, thanks to the care and treatment from the NICU staff, he grew stronger and was able to return home to his family.
Joanna said: “The staff at NICU at the William Harvey became like a family and have always been there from day one to provide support, making solo visits more comfortable and we will always be grateful.
“Their support and company during what was the hardest, most stressful and definitely most worrying time of our lives was so valuable.”
Money raised for the Tiny Toes appeal helps support patient care, providing state-of-the-art equipment or additional equipment not available through NHS funding, and helps provide the best possible environment for patients, parents, staff, and visitors.
To add to their sponsorship, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Tom-Joanna-Dixon and for more information on supporting the Tiny Toes appeal visit https://www.ekhcharity.org.uk/about-us/tiny-toes/