Mum’s plight for cause close to her heart

Fiona Meleschko with Laura Mattimore at the Sling Swing fundraiser for Forget Me Not
Fiona Meleschko with Laura Mattimore at the Sling Swing fundraiser for Forget Me Not

A brave mum whose baby son died last year has vowed to raise awareness of the hospice which helped her family through its darkest hours.

Laura Mattimore, 33, of Halifax, experienced the incredible work and support of the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice first-hand when her newborn son Christopher faced a multitude of health problems.

The tot had been diagnosed with a rare brain condition called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum before he was born. Laura, who lives in Claremount with her husband Richard and two daughters Chloe and Charlotte, said the news was “devastating”, but doctors said he would have a 75 per cent chance of developing normally.

But when Christopher was born last February, he faced a number of problems, including a club foot, cleft palate, epilepsy, low muscle tone, a poor suck and swallow reflex and impaired vision.

Despite spending time in and out of hospital, the tot began to thrive.

Laura said: “He started to do really well, towards the end of his little life. He had started moving, which is something doctors didn’t think was going to happen. He had started eating, he started focusing. It was amazing to see.”

But heartache was to come for the family. After contracting pneumonia while in hospital for a simple operation, Christopher often caught and struggled to shift chest infections. Then one day last November, he woke up struggling to breathe. Christopher was taken to hospital where medics tried to help him, but Laura and Richard received the heartwrenching news there was nothing else they could do.

“He just passed away in my arms,” Laura said.

Now Laura and her family want to do as much as they can to raise awareness and money for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. She said: “They were there from day one, they were to give extra support when things weren’t going well. It’s really important to get the message and awareness out there.”

Earlier this week, Fiona Meleschko, who runs baby dance and movement class Sling Swing Calderdale, held a special fundraiser on what would have been Christopher’s first birthday. Laura and Christopher were regulars at the classes, which Laura credits as being a big help to him.

Fiona said: “My intention is that every year on, or around his birthday, I will dedicate my classes to him and all the proceeds will go to the Forget me Not Children’s Hospice.”

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/slingswingforChristopher