When Mollie Skelton-Bond was born early at just 27 weeks, she weighed only 1lb and 2oz and faced a battle for survival.
But, nine years on, the future is bright for the youngster – and now her family is supporting an event in Sheffield which will see the fountains in Barker’s Pool and all 156 lights in the Peace Gardens turned purple to mark World Prematurity Day.
Julie Bathie, senior sister at the Jessop maternity wing, who looked after Mollie, said the November 17 event promises to be ‘very exciting’.
“We know at first hand that having a premature baby can turn your world upside down,” she said.
As well as the theme of purple – the prematurity campaign’s official colour – balloons will be released in the Peace Gardens, the Jessop Wing choir are planning a performance, and a charity party is being organised by Sheffield’s Little Miracles support group.
Parents are also invited to bring to the Peace Gardens photos of their children holding socks showing their size at birth, which will be pinned to a ribbon.
Mollie was delivered by Caesarian section, as her mum Gail Bond suffered health problems which began when she was diagnosed with chronic auto-immune hepatitis as a teenager.
She was only 10cm long at birth, and by the time she was discharged from hospital aged one her family was told the cost of her care had run to £150,000.
Julie became close friends with Gail, but tragically the mum’s health worsened and she died aged 38 shortly before her daughter’s second birthday.
Mollie, from Retford, needed oxygen at home until she was seven, and still visits Sheffield Children’s Hospital for checks three times a year. The 4pm event is sponsored by interior design agency Jamie Hempsall Ltd, where Mollie’s uncle Richard Bond is co-director.