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In 2014, myself and my husband Craig fell pregnant with our first child together - we were so excited! Frankie made a surprise appearance in November 2014, and although a little early he was a very healthy baby boy! However 4 days later we had to make the heart breaking decision to end his life..... WHY? What we didn't realise was that during his birth Frankie had contracted an infection called Group B Strep.
Group B Strep is a natural bacteria found in 30% of all adults. It has no symptoms and is not harmful to adults. However when present during birth it can be passed onto the baby causing meningitis and septicaemia, and can have devastating effects ranging from permanent disability to death.
We, as most first time parents, had absolutely no idea about GBS and unfortunately it wasn't picked up in time and treatment was left too late for Frankie. We later found out that his death could have been prevented. If I had been tested in late pregnancy, I could have been given antibiotics in labour and Frankie would have survived. Instead of getting to bring my baby boy home, we left with an empty car seat. Instead of planning a christening we had to plan his funeral. Nothing can prepare you for the pain of losing a child, and it is something that never goes away, but to find out his death was preventable was utterly devastating.
After his death we did a lot of research into GBS and we were put in touch with Group B Strep Support. The main aim of the charity is to raise awareness of infection and the preventative measures that can be taken. The charity provides information to expectant parents, it provides support to parents (Like us) who have suffered the devastating consequences of GBS; and most importantly it works with relevant medical bodies on developing prevention strategies. In the last few years we have seen some huge steps forward, however there is lots more work to be done.
We may not be able to parent Frankie in the 'normal' way but he is still a huge part of our lives and we vowed to not let him die in vain. Over the past 4 years we have done all we can to create a legacy for Frankie, we are determined to share his story and ultimately try and stop other parents and babies go through what we have. Not only do we share his story as far and wide as we can, we (long with our incredible friends and family) have through various fundraising events raised a lot of money for this great charity. All the money raised supports the charity to continue their great work of campaigning, raising awareness and working on future prevention strategies. We want Frankie to be remembered for the strong boy he was - he fought so hard to stay alive and has given myself and Craig the ultimate strength to carry on his legacy.
He may not be here today to show us what a boisterous little boy he would be, but what he is doing is even bigger - he is saving lives! Every time his story is shared with expectant parents, they become more informed about GBS and then choose to be tested - Frankie is potentially saving a life!
In November 2019 we will be celebrating Frankie's 5th birthday and to celebrate this milestone, I have set us a fundraising target of £30K - I am under no illusion of the huge task I have set, but I truly believe that with continued support we can get there.
The money raised will pay for vital education for families and health professionals and will continue to raise awareness of this horrendous infection. Unfortunately, we are still hearing about deaths from GBS in the media, and many more happen without hitting the headlines - the problem isn't going away and we have to continue to support Group B Strep Support and fight for change.
I have added details of the events that have taken place over the last 3 years and we have some other events just around the corner. I will continue to update this page as we go along. It would mean the world to us if you could donate anything you can for this amazing charity, and to help keep our boy's memory alive.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story.
Lots of Love
Lynsey and Craig xx