Katie Johnson

Remembering Ronnie Nichols

Fundraising for South Tees Hospitals Charity
In memory of Ronnie Nichols
We enhance NHS services and improve care to benefit users of South Tees Hospitals


Thank you for taking the time to visit Ronnie's page.

We will be using this page to raise money for the Neonatal Unit and Maternity Bereavement Services at James Cook Hospital. These services have played a significant part in Ronnie's life, and beyond.

Our fundraising journey starts with running the Middlesbrough 10km this September, less than 12 weeks postpartum and post child loss, but worth the challenge.

Ronnie was born on the 16/06/2022, 7 lbs of perfect. He was cared for on the neonatal unit of James Cook Hospital, which now holds a special place in our hearts.

I will be running to raise money for the unit, for those who wish to support, if you can donate, please do, and if you can’t, please just support me by cheering me on (in person or on Strava) if you see me training for the event, usually jogging around the village clutching Ronnie’s comforter, with a photograph of our beautiful boy in my arm wallet. 

We hope to use Ronnie's name, and our experience, to help others affected by similar situations. Charitable funding helped us on our journey, and we hope that our efforts can return the support to others. Whether this is to contribute to the funding of medical equipment, to provide comforts for families visiting the unit, or for memory making and keepsakes to take home, every factor matters in such heartrending occasions, when a life is taken too soon, what else do we have to hold onto except the memories. It’s so sad, but it’s true.

We would like to share Ronnie's story, and hope that the compassion and care we received at James Cook is recognised, and that Ronnie's legacy inspires those who can donate, to donate, to the wonderful teams involved who enabled us to spend precious time, with our precious boy.

Ronnie’s Story

Ronnie’s story starts with happiness and naivety. A lovely, bright day in June, Thursday 16th. A normal working day, that soon become lifechanging. At exactly 38 weeks gestation, Ronnie was considered full term and started making his way into the world, so labour began.

Even though this whole experience was so unknown and unfamiliar to us as first time parents, it was so exciting. Our memories of labour aren’t scary, or traumatic, it was a heartening experience. We joked between contractions, talked of our plans for the coming weekend, including Fathers Day, and shared our excitement with the midwives of what our future would hold, with our soon to be child. We were going to be a family, and we couldn’t have been happier.

Ronnie came into this world at 9.33pm, 7lbs of perfect. The overwhelming sense of love and instinct to protect our little boy was instant. He was presented to us, and held in our arms for a moment, before he was quickly removed, as a team of professionals swarmed our precious boy. It was clear he needed urgent assistance. We didn’t know what was wrong, but we knew he was in good hands. The next stages of Ronnie’s life happened so fast, in a blur of both delirium and fear. Ronnie was born, he was alive, he was loved, but it started to become clear that he could not stay.

We found out afterwards, Ronnie’s cord had become trapped in labour, and despite the best efforts of the the midwifery and neonatal teams, the damage caused was irreversible.

The neonatal team worked endlessly through the night to improve his condition. They say to expect sleep deprivation with a new born, and we did, but not for the reasons we expected. We spent the night going between the delivery suite and the neonatal unit. We cuddled him, we cradled him, we prayed for him, but it wasn’t enough. By sunrise on the Friday morning, 17/06/2022, we faced the most difficult decision of our lives, and agreed to withdraw active treatment and keep Ronnie comfortable. We knew this meant we wouldn’t have long with him, and if our love could have saved him, he would have lived forever.

The neonates worked so hard with Ronnie, with the help of specialist equipment they were able to give Ronnie the best chance they could have done. And the care and compassion from the neonatal team didn’t end there. We didn’t know what we needed, but they did.

The next chapter of Ronnie’s short life is his last breaths; for which we were transferred to a calm room, away from the machinery and pace of the rest of the hospital. We were able to carry him there ourselves and hold him in embrace. It felt so natural to hold him, and he looked so comfortable in our arms. Those few moments of holding our little boy, living and breathing, away from any tubes or wires, are moments we will always cherish. We felt his chest rise and fall for the last time, we heard the small crackle of his last inhale as he took his last breath, all the time looking at his innocent little face, so peaceful and perfect. We try to find reassurance in that, we hope he could feel our love and affection, and that’s why he looked at peace. It took some time after for his heart to stop beating, and when it did, our hearts shattered.

It's not just our hearts aching for him, Ronnie was born into a loving family, he managed to meet his Grandma and Grandad, and aunties and uncles, in such a short time he made such a big impact. A quote on the wall in the room we were in read ‘the smallest footprints leave the biggest prints in our hearts’. We all agreed.

We all made memories together, Ronnie is a part of them. We also did memory making activities as mum and dad. It felt so natural to nurture our boy, and do some ‘firsts’, every fibre of us wishing they weren’t also out ‘lasts’. We did nappy changes, outfit swaps, bed baths, footprints, story time and took plenty of treasured photographs. We got to know, and love, every feature of our son, and take reminiscences with us.

When we left the hospital, it was the first time in 9 months I wasn’t carrying my baby, instead, we were carrying a memory box. Words cannot begin to explain this experience, the only feeling greater than the pain, is the enormous and everlasting love for our little boy. 

Ronnie will always be our first born, and hold a very special place in our hearts. We grieve for him, and all the things we had planned that we never got to do with him. In our time as parents Ronnie taught us how to love harder than we knew. He was the one who made us Mum and Dad, and more than that, he made us a family, leading us to support each other through this impossible time of sadness. Through Ronnie we are learning courage; the power to go on when we don’t feel we have the strength, we work together to move forward, but never move on. Ronnie will always be with us, Ronnie is more than a memory. Ronnie is our little boy. Talking about Ronnie doesn’t remind us that he died, it celebrates that he lived.

We aim to continue to share his story, and continue to raise awareness and funds to support others affected, in remembrance of Ronnie. 

About the charity

We are the official charity of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, helping our NHS go further at The James Cook University Hospital, Friarage Hospital and community health services across Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Hambleton & Richmondshire. We help our local NHS go further!

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £1,824.00 Gift Aid
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