Two proud mums are the first to sign up for an event to raise funds for Sheffield’s tiniest patients and their families, as a thank you for the lifesaving care their sons received in the city.
Laura Nikolak’s son Luca – who is now 16 weeks was born more than seven weeks early at the Jessop Wing, weighing less than 4lbs.
Now, Laura, aged 33, from Fulwood is calling on parents to don their hero costumes and sign-up for Sheffield Hospitals Charity’s Jessops Superheroes 2018, a sponsored 2.5k family walk, buggy push, toddle or trike.
It’s thanks to the care that Luca received from staff at the Jessop Wing that she is taking part in the fundraiser and asking other parents to do the same.
Laura said: “At 32+5 weeks my waters broke. I immediately called triage who directed me to pack a bag and come straight in to hospital.
“I had several examinations and a steroid injection to help develop Luca’s lungs. I only had intermittent contractions so I was admitted as we hoped that I wouldn’t go into established labour for a few days.
“During the night I was having contractions every 10 minutes and Luca started to get distressed. He had a low heart rate, so I needed an emergency caesarean section. Soon after, I was under a general anaesthetic and the surgical team delivered Luca.
“Luca only weighed 3lb 11oz. I was worried, sad, overwhelmed and apprehensive about what condition he was in, but I trusted he was in safe hands. The nurse running the high dependency unit arranged for my bed to be transported to Luca’s room. Seeing him in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was daunting, but she reassured me that he was in the best place he could be.
“A month later Luca was granted early discharge. He is growing, developing and getting stronger each day. I’m very grateful to the team for the care they provided to Luca and my family. I had complete trust that the team would provide my little one the best care possible.”
It’s not just premature babies who benefit from the specialist equipment and knowledge of staff at the Jessop Wing.
Laura Burn, aged 30, from Hoyland gave birth to her second child, James, on 1 August 2017 via elected caesarean section. James was born full term at 39 weeks and three days, weighing a healthy 7lb 11oz, however it soon became apparent that James had breathing difficulties, and was rushed to Sheffield’s maternity hospital.
Laura is also taking part in Jessops Superheroes, to say thank you for the care she and her family received last year.
Laura said: “James was making a grunting noise straight after he was born and his chest was moving really fast. He was put straight in an incubator and had an oxygen tube fitted to help him breathe. My partner, Aaron and me were really worried and upset. Aaron stayed strong for me and James, but I know he was really upset inside.
“As the day progressed he started to deteriorate more and the day after he was much worse. The consultant then had discussions with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the Jessop Wing, where he was immediately transferred.
“After further tests he was given treatment for pneumonia and suspected sepsis. Every day he got better and better. He started being fed via a tube and eventually we could feed him via a bottle once he was able to come off the oxygen. After a week, James was well enough to be transferred back to Barnsley Hospital, before he was able to come home.
“We couldn’t have been happier with how we all were treated by the wonderful staff at the Jessop Wing. We were told absolutely everything that was being done and any questions we did have were answered straight away. Staff also helped me with my postnatal care.
“James is now doing really well and is a bright happy, smiley six month old boy.”
A double twin mother who survived a rare life-threatening pregnancy complication, is also taking part in the event.
Nina Spencer, aged 37, gave birth to twins Jessica and Mason six months ago- but only after going through a very rare but life threatening pregnancy complication called Placenta Percreta.
Nina, who is married to husband Chris, aged 48, and is also mum to twins Jake and Melody, aged 6, and step-son Cameron, aged 17, will join her family in taking on the Jessops Superheroes event to give something back to the city healthcare staff who saved her life.
She said: “At 35 weeks gestation I was diagnosed with Placenta Percreta - a serious pregnancy condition that occurs when blood vessels and other parts of the placenta grow too deeply into the uterine wall - which was life threatening for both me and my twins.
“I was admitted for a week at the Jessop Wing for observation in preparation for an operation. During that time I was seen by several doctors and nurses, one of whom was Dr Ruth Newton, who became my rock throughout my stay.
“She answered any questions I had and talked me through my operation and recovery process step-by-step. I believe this lady deserves a medal for helping me through the scariest time of my life. She is a true superhero.
“The operation took place a week later at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital which included a caesarean section for the birth of my babies, a hysterectomy and a blood transfusion at the same time.
“When I woke up, I was soon able to meet the twins who were doing really well, thanks to the amazing staff at the Jessop Wing who had organised bringing them over to the Hallamshire. It was amazing.
“All of the staff at Jessop’s became our family for what would end up being a three week stay. I would have felt very scared and lonely without my husband, but he was also allowed to stay and he was treated with so much care and respect.
“The care I received I was above and beyond our expectations. I will never be able to express enough gratitude to the staff who cared for me. Taking part in Jessop’s Superheroes can only ever cover a small percentage of how grateful I am.”
To raise funds to help improve the care and treatment of babies and their families at the Jessop Wing, Sheffield Hospitals Charity is hosting its fifth annual Jessops Superheroes event, which has now raised more than £90k in the last four years.
This year’s event, promises to be bigger and better than the last, and all involved are encouraged to wear superhero costumes to celebrate the NHS heroes who care for and save the lives of Sheffield’s tiniest patients every day.
Around 8000 babies are born each year at the Jessop Wing, which includes caring for around 900 critically ill and premature babies in one of the largest and most specialised Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the country.
Jessops Superheroes, sponsored by Dutton International, takes place on Sunday June 10 at Graves Park at 10.30am, £15 minimum sponsorship for all who take part. Participants will be given a free superhero bib or cape.
For more information or to register visit www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk/superheroes email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0114 226 7351.