A HEARTBROKEN couple who lost their stillborn daughter just months after losing their son hope the latest internet sensation will help them on their quest to give others the chance of spending 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 28-week-old daughter Maddison on June 18 – less than eight months after their 21-week-old son, Leon Kenneth, was also stillborn.
So far the couple has raised more than £3,000 for the hospital – whose care and support enabled Nicki and Kenny to spend several hours with Leon and Maddison due to a mechanism called a cuddle cot.
Used in a Moses basket so it does not look clinical, the cot keeps babies cool for longer, enabling parents to have their baby at their bedside or take them home to grieve and say goodbye.
Nicki - who is also mum to three-year-old Leighton and step-mum to six-year-old Louis - said: “After the great success of the fundraiser in February we decided we would like to do more to raise money and help Arrowe Park’s Delivery Suite make their bereavement room more up to date.
“I then found out I was pregnant so this went on the back burner but unfortunately Maddison was born at 28 weeks on June 18 - she had a cyst on her brain which had caused a lot of brain damage.
“I was lucky to have such an amazing midwife who ensured I was given the bereavement room in which I had Leon at Arrowe Park.
“However this room is only temporary as they want to move it to another room. This made me more determined than ever to raise more money and ensure that the new room is just as warming and relaxing in order to help parents feel comfortable when spending time with their child.”
Nicki and Kenny have already raised enough to provide Arrowe Park with an extra cuddle cot but have been asked to wait until the new bereavement room is completed before donating it.
They have also donated 20 memory boxes provided by charity 4Louis, which aim to offer support and help to families affected by stillbirth and neonatal death by capturing lasting precious memories of their baby.
Despite the unimaginable heartache experienced by the couple, Nicki and Kenny hope to further help the hospital and will be embarking on a series of challenges and fundraising events this year – starting with the Ice Bucket Challenge.
The challenge, which sees people soak themselves with a bucket filled with ice water, has taken the internet by storm with celebrities including Rory McIlroy, Hugh Jackman and even former President George W Brush joining in.
It has been used as a way of raising awareness and money for various charities, with the Almonds choosing the Sleeping Babies Appeal.
“We have organised another fundraising night in February 2015 but when I saw the ice bucket challenge it set me thinking,” explained Nicki, who nominated her friends and family to join in.
“I am not a big fan of water but I said that if we can raise £500 by doing the challenge I would happily take part.”
To donate to the appeal, visit gofundme.com/LeonAlmondFundRaising