Not many people know this but I’m a miracle. That might sound incredibly big-headed, but I really am a miracle. You see I was born incredibly premature. So premature that I was incredibly ill…in fact I died a number of times. Before you ask I don’t remember anything about it, I didn’t see the white pearly gates or a light at the end of the tunnel, but it happened.
I was born dramatically early. So yes I guess my life continued the way it would stay DRAMATIC! They do say start the way that you mean to go on – I undoubtably did that. I was born so small I fitted into the palm of my dad’s hand with room to spare (unbelievable, yes I can’t imagine it either) and was the smallest baby in Burnley General – I even appeared in the paper with smiling school children holding me (yes a little bit weird, but cute).
Yes being small is cute, but it presented its problems. In my eagerness to get out into the big bad world I didn’t give my little body enough time to develop, meaning that in the rush to get out my body simply didn’t finish the job. The result was a I closed hole in my heart valve. Obviously this meant I was fighting from the very second I was born….something it seems I’m really very good at!
Ok, let’s be serious a moment, because really this is no laughing matter. I don’t remember anything about any of this, my little body was broken, but really I had no idea, but my poor parents did. I can’t imagine the pain of having to watch your baby suffer, to not know if they are going to live or die. I can’t imagine having the baby I just gave birth to being snatched away and the pain and anxiety while waiting to hear their fate, while I should be holding my child and celebrating bringing them into the world. It must have broken my parents’ hearts.
I’m alive today because of a number of people who simply wouldn’t let me go. My parents, the doctors and nurses, and obviously my very stubborn little self, who fought back from the brink and mended over night (the start of a trend throughout my IBD and adult life) just as all hope was lost. But I’m also here because of my late Step grandad Nick; an amazing man who bought me an incubator to keep me alive because the hospital didn’t have one to save me. He died a few years ago, but I like to think he would be proud of what I have done with the life helped me to experience.
Anyway, why am I talking about this? Because today me and Andy (my boyfriend) ran the Chester Santa Dash to raise money for a number of charities; among them the Baby Grow Appeal. The BG appeal is to try to raise £3 million to build a new neonatal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital to provide a more private place for families going through what my family went through; a place where support can be given to those who are going through uncertain and emotional times, and where the best care can be given to babies who are clinging to life and fighting with every little bone in their bodies.
Ok, you all know The Countess isn’t on my Christmas card list due to everything that’s happened over the years, but who cares when they are trying to achieve something so important, which could save lives and give comfort to so many people in such difficult times. So with that in mind we donned our Santa suits to race 4k around the city with hundreds of other Santas.
But being me and Andy we couldn’t do it without a bit of a twist, so Andy wore his giant Lego head and I donned my Press jacket and we suddenly became the stars of the show. We ran the whole thing, even though Andy could hardly see. We were a massive hit…well Andy was. I think he has started trending on twitter and is probably in hundreds of photos (there’s even a Where’s Wally style shot on the Dee 106.3 Facebook page). It was an incredible experience, and despite stinking and being bathed in sweat by the end we were incredibly happy – and even got interviewed by Dee 106.3 an odd experience with some bizarre questions which I didn’t handle that well – I’m used to the other side of the camera really!
So that’s another challenge down – what next?