A DIRECTOR from Leeds based Adept Civil and Structural Consulting Engineers is working with charity Bliss, which supports families of premature babies, as a ‘Bliss Champion’.
Matthew Ramsden and his colleagues at Adept have also now raised more than £2,000 for the charity and Just Giving has revealed the company was in the top five per cent of more than half a million fundraisers registered on its website in 2015.
Matthew became involved with the charity when he and wife Sarah discovered they were expecting triplets. Complications in the pregnancy meant the babies had to be born early and on the 16th June 2012, Josie, Scarlett and Grace, were born by caesarean section, eight weeks premature. Nearly four years on, all three girls are fighting fit and both Matthew and Sarah continue to work closely with the charity.
Bliss supports families of premature babies in all types of ways, from helping them to understand what’s happening to their babies in hospital, through to providing the opportunity to speak to other parents who have been through similar things with their own children. In addition to this, the charity undertakes research and is committed to campaigning.
Matthew explains: “When our girls were born, they were tiny, weighing little more than a bag of sugar and they all had to go straight into incubators. It was a rocky journey through the neonatal unit, with moments of uncertainty but thankfully, each of the girls made it through. However, the five painstaking weeks we spent with them on Leeds General Infirmary’s (LGI) neonatal ward will always be very fresh in our minds.
“Some days were very difficult – it’s a complex mix of emotions becoming parents to fragile babies with an uncertain future. Leaving the hospital at the end of each day without our babies was heart breaking.
“The support from Bliss was fantastic and meeting their volunteers and other parents really sparked our enthusiasm to fundraising and volunteering with them. We now visit the special care unit at Airedale Hospital on a weekly basis to meet parents of premature babies as a Bliss Champion. It is the aim of Bliss to have a Champion in every neonatal unit in the country and they are usually parents who have experienced neonatal care with their own children. It is an honour to spend time with new parents and help where we can.”
Finally Matthew adds: “Adept recently introduced a scheme where our 30-strong team can all spend two days a year volunteering for good causes, so more recently I have been working with student nurses at the LGI as part of their course. I have been given the opportunity to give a talk about my experiences from a parent’s perspective on the neonatal unit and offer my critique to their assignments which has been a great experience.”
For more details about the charity visit www.bliss.org.uk