Donations made to hospital help give premature babies the best start

Reverend Andrew Wilson and members of St John of Jerusalem church donate �1,200 to Dr Narendra and h

Reverend Andrew Wilson and members of St John of Jerusalem church donate �1,200 to Dr Narendra and his team at the neonatal intensive care unit. Tonya Chalker (Left) from Homerton Hope. Picture: Holly Chant - Credit: Holly Chant

A church in South Hackney has donated £1,200 to Homerton’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The unit is one of the busiest in Britain, providing vital specialist care to some of the most vulnerable babies born sick and premature.

Homerton's neonatal unit is a very warm place, kept at a constant temperature of 27 degrees to ensure every newborn treated there is kept snug.

"It's for the babies not for us," said Dr Narendra.

He runs the level three unit which cares for infants as young as 23 weeks into pregnancy. Babies born at that stage can weigh little more than one pound and measure about 11 inches from head to foot.

"Other units don't take babies so small. You may live in Essex or Hertfordshire and end up here," said Tonya Chalker who is the fundraiser for the hospital charity, Homerton Hope.

Tonya told the Gazette: "I had my baby boy [at Homerton] - my little miracle. He was three weeks early and came to the unit for a couple of days."

She continued: "When you're a new mum you never think it's going to happen to you and you appreciate the expertise and care - all the unit provides. Its an amazing unit."

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Whilst the NHS funded hospital's priority is innovation, research and equipment, funds raised by Homerton Hope are also used to ensure patients' time there is comfortable.

The donated money will go into renovating family, breastfeeding and counselling rooms. These spaces provide a place to stay and privacy for parents at difficult times, dealing with a newborn that may have trouble breathing, need a ventillation machine or even surgery. Counselling rooms are especially important in offering support to anyone dealing with bad news and many donations come from people who have lost a child on the ward.

Tonya says families appreciate the care, support and expertise offered at Homerton and want to give back. Members from St John of Jerusalem Church presented the cheque to Dr Narendra and his team on January 30.

Revered Andrew Wilson said: "A huge thank you to the generosity of those people who came to the Christmas Carol service and Crib service allowing us to give this money to Homerton's NICU."

To donate to Homerton Hope click here

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