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At 1:40 on the 8th October 2010 my daughter Audrey Evalina Ingle came into the world by emergency C-Section. She was four weeks early and small at only 4lb 11oz, but otherwise she appeared to be in good health. However, at 8:30 that same morning doctors discovered she was afflicted with a condition called Tracheo Oesophageal Fistula (TOF for short). After trying to feed, she had become distressed and a scan showed that her food pipe led to a dead end and that her stomach was connected to her wind pipe. It's a rare condition that affects only 1 in 3500 children and, needless to say, we were shellshocked. This certainly wasn't supposed to happen!
Audrey was taken to St George's Hospital in Tooting, which is the South's specialist centre for the treatment of TOF (www.tofs.org.uk). The evening of the day she was born, Audrey underwent surgery to detach her stomach from her windpipe and connect it to her food pipe. The operation was a success, but only 24 hours later it was discovered she had a small hole in her lung and a second operation was required. This also went well, but she emerged in a very serious condition, artificially paralysed to aid healing, and with pipes, tubes and wires jutting from her at all angles.
Over the ensuing nine weeks I was amazed and humbled by the enormous dedication and skill of all the doctors and nurses in the Intensive Care and High Dependency Units. Every day I watched these inspiring people gently nurse my little girl back from the brink; from a paralysed little body on life support, to her first tiny wriggle and silent cry, mum's first hold, her first bath and then, most memorably of all, her first smile.
We will never forget what these people did for us and for our little girl. Along with all the other parents who were there with us or before us and those who will sadly have to spend time there in the future, our debt of gratitude cannot be sufficiently expressed in words.
This place keeps sick babies alive and they do so with limited resources and dwindling funds. Much of their equipment is donated or funded by this charity: First Touch.
Please donate a little to this unbelievably important cause and help these wonderful people continue to save tiny people's lives.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
So please dig deep and donate now.