City seeing purple for premature babies

World Prematurity Day celebrations last year
World Prematurity Day celebrations last year
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Sheffield will go purple once again this year to show its support for World Prematurity Day on November 17.

Barkers Pool, along with the lights and fountains of the Peace Garden, will join other monuments around the world - including the Eiffel Tower and Niagara Falls - as they light up purple next Tuesday, to raise awareness of preterm birth.

The city first went purple last year after Julie Bathie, a Senior Sister at Sheffield Teaching Hospital, masterminded the movement with a group of friends- and even found sponsors to cover its costs.

“This was an important part of launching an event in Sheffield which, not only raises awareness, but allows friends and family to get together to celebrate babies who literally battle through those early years,” said Julie.

Julie sees the effects of preterm birth firsthand in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Jessop Wing, where she helps provide the complex care and attention that her tiny charges need.

The Sheffield Hospitals Charity is organising this year’s event. The charity is also launching an appeal to raise money to refurbish four flats for family members with critically ill and premature babies treated in the Jessop Wing Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Approximately 15 million babies are born preterm each year, accounting for about one in 10 of all babies born worldwide.

Julie Bathie says, “Last year’s event was great, but this year is going to be bigger and better. The celebrations are going to be attended by the Frozen Princesses and there will be performances from Voices of Jessop Wing. National Grid have also got involved this year and will be lighting up their Sheffield office buildings purple on the day. We’re thrilled with the way people are embracing this day and showing their support and understanding for this global issue.”

The event will kick off in the Peace Garden today at 4pm.