A Co Antrim couple who lost their baby son Theo, a day after he was born, are finding comfort knowing that a fundraising effort they are conducting will help other babies.
Charlotte and Samuel Watson from Ballymena have started a fundraising campaign to provide an incubator for Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital in memory of their son Theo.
Theo, who was born on November 29, passed away 25 hours later on November 30.
After doctors conducted tests, Theo was diagnosed with Patau’s Syndrome- a rare genetic disorder caused by having an additional copy of chromosome 13 in some or all of the body’s cells.
As Theo’s condition deteriorated, his parents were faced with making a decision about his care.
In the hours following his death, Charlotte (32) and Samuel (33) received support from midwives and other medical staff at the hospital’s bereavement room.
Now, the couple want to give something back to the midwives who supported them and help other ill newborns. They have set about raising funds to get a new incubator for the hospital.
Samuel said: “Our fundraising is helping us both massively. We will never forget about Theo.
“Knowing that the money we get will support other babies is providing some comfort for us. There are a lot of newborns who will need this care and we want to help them.
“It will cost £22,000 for the new incubator. When we hit this target, we won’t stop and will continue to give back to the many charities that have helped us on our journey.”
One of the main methods of raising funds has been through ‘Treasured Print Works’. Charlotte set up the bespoke personalised printing service for all occasions with all profits being donated to the charity.
They recently held a comedy night in Origin Nightclub in Ballymena and raised £1,070. The couple are organising further fundraising events and would appeal to anyone who can help with their efforts.
Almost £2,000 was also recently raised at Samuel’s mother’s 60th birthday.
Samuel, who is originally from Ballyclare, added: “My mum didn’t want any presents and asked for anyone wishing to buy her a present to instead donate money to the charity effort.
“We would just like to thank my mum for being so selfless. She is always talking about Theo to people she meets in Ballyclare and they have handed her money for the charity. All of this goes straight to the Perinatal Trust Fund (NI). Both Charlotte’s parents and mine have been incredible in supporting our fund.
“We would also like to thank everyone who has purchased from Treasured Print Works and who has made a donation.
“The surgeons, doctors and midwives were all really good. Our focus now is to try and help them and other babies. We need something to help us get through the pain.”
For more information, check out the Treasured Print Works Facebook page.
An online fundraising page has also be created. If you would like to donate, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/samuel-watson3?fbclid=IwAR0cUXLtiQ8sVsMQ_2Eg9ecDp2YwP3JYkhLGWY60FKpzrqDaZXDxQUMX27A
At the time of going to print, the couple have raised just over £13,000.