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Blog For Hertsprems – Sam Findlay – Giving Something Back – Frankie Says Relax

On the 27th Oct myself and a small team of friends and family will be running 13.1 miles in the Love Luton – Half Marathon to raise money for the Luton and Dunstable NICU appeal.  We will be doing this under the team name Frankie Says Relax in collaboration with HertsPrems with an aim to enhance awareness of prematurity.

So what is this all in aid of? Well like many of you reading this I am the mummy of a premie.

Frankie was born 6 weeks early on the 23/08/2011. He weighed a healthy 5lb 9oz and at 34 plus 5 we all expected him to have a few nights in SCBU and then be up in the ward with mummy. Frankie’s story didn’t really start here though.

When I was 28 weeks to the day I had been admitted to hospital due to my hind waters breaking. I was advised that the best course of action was to aim to reach 34 weeks and at this point they would induce me. Until then I had to be signed off work, was closely monitored and just had to hope I didn’t go into labour.  So the day came when I would be induced but the problem was by this point Frankie had been exposed to the risk of infection for 6 weeks and 5 days. It was this that made Frankie’s story a little more complicated.

Frankie had to be treated for septicaemia, Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Jaundice. He needed a long line inserted and spent the first 5 days unable to feed as he was just too weak. It was on that 5th day that he turned a corner and I got to hold my baby and see his face for the first time. In total he spent 8 days in NICU, 2 days in HD and a further 8 days in SCBU learning how to feed.

It may have only been 5 days, but as a parent any moment you spend not knowing if your child will survive feels like a lifetime.  We was just blessed that our nightmare lasted days instead of months like many other parents.

It takes a NICU nurse to understand this. Somehow they have this patience and kindness in them that without giving any false hope, somehow gives you hope. They don’t make promises that they cannot keep, but somehow you feel reassured that in their care your baby really does have the best possible chance of survival. But more than this, they go that step further to not just care for your baby in the most personal, intricate ways, they also support you through your darkest days, they recognise when you’re at breaking point and somehow manage to piece you back together.

Before my time in NICU I never knew such kindness from a complete stranger. Some may say that this is just part of their job, but I disagree. The Aunties and Uncles (as they call themselves) in NICU are a special type of person and their compassion drove us to want to give something back.

Frankie Says Relax started in 2011. We chose our team name because all the nurses used to say how laid back and chilled out Frankie was during his time in NICU. Our first race was as a family of four (Frankie has an older brother Freddie, aged 3 at the time) we took part in the On your Marks 2km Family race and Frankie who was then 7 weeks old took part in his buggy. That year we made £1376 pounds in just 3 weeks.

The following year I asked friends and family to get involved and a Team of 25 of us took part in the 2k, 5k or 10k race. This time we raised £2760 pounds and an additional £500 off line that we later donated to another friend’s justgiving page to buy a machine for the NICU.

This year we have upped the ante and will be running the Love Luton half marathon. It’s a big ask so our team has shrunk a little but were still hoping to raise 4 figures for the NICU appeal.

I read somewhere that the average cost of a night’s stay in NICU is £1200. Frankie only spent 18 days being treated but this still adds up to a huge £21,600. I have made it my challenge to give that back to NICU….it just may take me 18 years!!!!

If you would like to donate anything please visit our page:

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