A HEARTBROKEN couple who lost their stillborn son in October are “overwhelmed” with the number of people who have rallied behind their aim to give others the chance to spend valuable time with their children before saying goodbye.
Nicki and Kenny Almond, from Eastham, hope to raise as much money as possible for Arrowe Park Hospital’s delivery suite after they lost their 21-week-old son, Leon Kenneth, on October 27 last year.
So far the couple has raised more than £3,000 for the hospital – whose care and support enabled Nicki and Kenny to spend 15 hours with Leon due to a mechanism called a cuddle cot.
Used in a Moses basket so it does not look clinical, the cuddle cot keeps babies cool for longer, enabling parents to have their baby at their bedside or take them home to grieve and say goodbye.
Earlier this month, Nicki – who is also mum to three-year-old Leighton and step-mum to six-year-old Louis – set out to raise the much-needed funds to buy Arrowe Park Hospital more cots and held a fundraising night in Bromborough on February 22.
“The idea of holding the fundraising night came from the comfort of spending 15 hours with our precious Leon before we had to say goodbye,” said 25-year-old Nicki, who found out Leon had died at her 20-week scan.
“The cuddle cot that was available to us was what I believe helped with our grieving process.
“To be able to spend 15 hours being able to take photographs, cuddle Leon, make memories and for our close family to meet him was so special.”
Nicki added: “We are overwhelmed with how well the event went and are already planning the next one for October this year.
“The count as it stands is £3,104 we are however still counting and expecting more donations to come in over the next few weeks.”
Manda Brown shaved her head to raise money for Arrowe Park Hospital's delivery suite.
The fundraising efforts were given an extra boost by Nicki’s 20-year-old sister, Manda Brown, who said farewell to her blonde and pink locks in aid of Leon.
“Manda shaving her hair was such a brave thing for her to do and we are all very proud of her,” said Nicki.
“She has done this not just for Leon but to help us reach our target and we will always be very grateful – she should be very proud of herself.”
Close family friend Mike Donnan also helped to raise more than £175 by waxing his chest.
It was after looking at stillbirth statistics that Nicki decided she wanted to help other families in a similar situation.
She said: “If I can help them to spend some quality time with their son or daughter then I feel I will have done my son proud.
“We would like to thank every single person who has contributed towards the total amount and express how grateful we are for everyone’s support since we lost Leon.”
To donate, visit gofundme.com/LeonAlmondFundRaising