Norwich mum set for fundraiser to thank hospital staff who cared for her premature baby born 16 weeks early

Alfie Nicholls in NICU after his premature birth. Alfie Nicholls in NICU after his premature birth.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
8:57 AM

A Norwich mother has pledged to give something back to the dedicated hospital staff who saved her premature son when he was born 16 weeks early.

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How to support hospital charity

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust charitable fund’s main aim is to improve patient, visitor and staff welfare at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Cromer and District Hospital.

Whilst the NHS provides the necessities, the charity funds projects that make the hospital experience a better one for patients, visitors and staff. Whilst general, unrestricted donations can be spent where the need is greatest, people can also specify which area of the hospital their fund-raising can go to. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is also looking for people to knit blankets and hats for premature babies.

For more information about fundraising for the hospital charity, call Louise Cook, fund-raising manager, on 01603 287107, or email fundraising@nnuh.nhs.uk or visit http://www.nnuh.nhs.uk/Page.asp?ID=77

Cheques can be made payable to ‘NNUH NHS FT Charitable Fund’ and sent to Fund-raising, 20 Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1QQ. Please ensure you include your name and any ward or department you wish to benefit from the donation.

When Alfie Nicholls arrived last March he weighed a tiny 1lb 9oz (722 grams) – and his parents feared the worst for their little boy.

He spent the first 93 days of his life at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

But Alfie is now a happy, healthy 13-month-old baby who weighs 22lb and is learning to crawl.

His mother, Sarah Chow, has praised the care the family received from doctors and nurses – and Miss Chow, a Zumba fitness instructor, has pledged to raise funds for NICU by organising a Zumbathon in Norwich next month. She hopes to raise more than £1,500 for the hospital unit.

Alfie Nicholls in NICU after his premature birth.Alfie Nicholls in NICU after his premature birth.

The 35-year-old and her partner, who live in Tuckswood, had not bought anything for the arrival of their first child or prepared their baby’s nursery when Alfie was born on March 24. His due date was July 10.

Miss Chow said she was having a normal pregnancy and was still running her Zumba classes when she went into labour three months early – 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

“I pictured what my pregnancy was going to be like and it was nothing like that. I was quite small and I had only just got my head around being pregnant.

“I went into labour on the Saturday morning and he was born at 4pm on the Sunday. I didn’t think he would make it – it was horrible. I did not realise that they could help him at that age, to be honest. I think we prepared ourselves for the worst,” she said.

Sarah Chow with her son Alfie Nicholls, 13-months-old. Sarah is planning a Zumbathon to raise funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as Alfie was born premature and weighed only one pound and nine ounces. Picture: Denise BradleySarah Chow with her son Alfie Nicholls, 13-months-old. Sarah is planning a Zumbathon to raise funds for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as Alfie was born premature and weighed only one pound and nine ounces. Picture: Denise Bradley

Miss Chow spent every day at NICU during her son’s first three months in hospital and vowed to do her bit by raising money for the N&N’s hospital charity to help other premature babies and their families.

“During the 93 days in which Alfie was in the unit, the care and support we all received was truly amazing. They do such outstanding and truly breathtaking work.

“I cannot thank them enough for saving his life and performing daily miracles. I cannot even bring myself to imagine where we would be today without them.”

She added: “They always made time for us if we had questions and they were so understanding and caring. We want to give something back – no matter how little – and I am sure we will do more in the future.”

Miss Chow and 12 other Zumba instructors will be joining forces for a three-hour Zumbathon, from 7pm, on June 20, at The Talk, in Oak Street, Norwich. The exercise will be followed by a DJ, raffle, topless male butlers, and a bar. Tickets cost £10 and are available by calling 07717 723713 or by emailing chowzumba@hotmail.co.uk

To sponsor her, visit www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Chow

Have you got a health story? Email adam.gretton@archant.co.uk.

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