Halifax mum thanks charity for keeping her together with seriously ill sons in hospital

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A Halifax mum is thanking the charity The Sick Children’s Trust for giving her a place to stay when both her sons were born seriously premature and needed emergency treatment.

Lucy Vickerman was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary in 2017 when her waters broke at just 23 weeks pregnant.

Two days later she gave birth to her first son Tobias who weighed just 600g.

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At five days old Tobias developed an infection in his bowel and needed surgery to partially remove it.

Lucy Vickerman with son Sebastian born at 25 weeks and how he looks nowLucy Vickerman with son Sebastian born at 25 weeks and how he looks now
Lucy Vickerman with son Sebastian born at 25 weeks and how he looks now

While Lucy and her husband Edward thought this had been successful, just 12 hours later Tobias’ condition deteriorated and he was diagnosed with a secondary infection and sepsis.

Tobias went into cardiac arrest and although doctors were able to revive him, due to his extreme prematurity and complications his parents were told that there was nothing more that could be done for Tobias.

At just eight days old, Tobias passed away.

Throughout this time, Lucy and Edward could always be by Tobias’ side as they were supported by The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Home from Home’ Eckersley House, located just a few minutes’ walk from his hospital bedside.

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Lucy said: “With Tobias’ health in so much turmoil it was important for us to stay close to him so that we could get back to his side in an instant. We live 45 minutes away from Leeds and without Eckersley House we wouldn’t have been able to be with him when he needed us. The Sick Children’s Trust took all that extra worry away.

“After Tobias passed away we left Eckersley House, but little did we know a year later we would be back staying there when our other son Sebastian was also born premature at 25 weeks. Sebastian was born by caesarean in Leeds weighing just 670g and he was suffering from similar health problems as Tobias.

“Edward and I were living through the same nightmare all over again and as much as I tried to push the thought from my head I couldn’t help but think we were going to lose Sebastian too. Thankfully though he didn’t develop any major infections and after eight weeks we were transferred back to our local hospital.

“It was comforting being back in Leeds as all the staff remembered us, as did those at Eckersley House. It was a great support for us to be back in a familiar surrounding at and it really did become a ‘Home from Home’ for us where our eldest son Thomas and my step-daughter Eleanor could come and visit us all. We can’t thank the charity enough for their support.”

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The Sick Children’s Trust does not charge families to stay in one of its ten ‘Homes from Home’ across the country, but it does cost the charity £30 to support a family for one night. £30 gives them a roof over their heads and a friendly ear to listen.

Jane McHale, Eckersley House Manager, said: “Lucy and Edward went through such a difficult time not only once, but twice, and being able to stay at Eckersley House made sure they could be with both of their sons at a moment’s notice.

“We rely entirely on voluntary donations to keep our ‘Homes from Home’ running but because of the pandemic many fundraising events have been cancelled and we are expecting a loss of 25-30% of our income. A donation of £30 will make sure more families, like Lucy and Edward’s, can be together when they need to be most.”

For further information about The Sick Children’s Trust, please visit sickchildrenstrust.org