A grieving mum has launched a fundraising drive to help save a threatened specialist children’s hospital unit that cared for her newborn baby.
Helen Cruickshanks, of Leverstock Green, Hemel Hempstead, wants to raise funds to keep the paediatric intensive care unit at Chelsea’s Royal Brompton Hospital open.
This is where baby Macy was treated after doctors discovered she had a severe case of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a thickening of the heart muscle.
Helen said: “The staff there were amazing and became like family to us. They tried everything to save her and treated her and us with compassion and empathy throughout this most awful time.” Parents Helen and Paul, of Tile Kiln Lane, were alerted that something might be wrong after Macy, who was born on November 7, started to turn grey.
The youngster needed open heart surgery at just three weeks old and although she got through the operation Macy never woke up and died in the arms of her parents at just six weeks and one day old. Helen said: “Congenital heart disease is something people don’t really know about but it is more common that any childhood cancer.
“One in 10 children are born with heart problems.”
Helen says without the unit at the Royal Brompton – Hemel Hempstead’s nearest specialist paediatric cardiac and lung hospital – Macy would have been treated by experts at the much further away Southampton Hospital.
The 38-year-old mum ran a heart-themed fundraising drive on Valentine’s Day with the help of Leverstock Green School, where her other children – Libby, seven, and Sam, four– are pupils.
Children there paid £1 to enter a make a heart competition that was judged by Rev Lizzie Hood from the nearby Holy Trinity Church. The school in Green Lane has also hosted a cake sale, which raised £90 for the hospital.