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We Did It! Appeal helps parents of NICU babies

Accommodation for parents of sick and premature babies staying at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) is now being provided free for one year after a fundraising appeal reached its target.

Earlier this year, the Norwich Evening News and EDP featured the appeal by the hospital to raise £15,000 which would help provide free rooms close to its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where parents can stay while their baby is being treated.

The rooms are in McKee House – a five-bedroom property just a two-minute walk from NNUH which offers double en suite bedrooms, a shared kitchen, lounge and dining area.

It provides a base for parents of premature or unwell babies, receiving specialist, life-saving care at a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for a fee of £20 a stay, be that a night or a week.

The N&N Hospitals Charity launched an appeal in February to offer everyone the chance to stay for free.

The appeal received a huge boost when Bethany and Simon Kemp raised £7,766.50 through a Baby Rocks charity evening which was held to thank staff who cared for their daughter, Isla, when she was born be emergency Caesarean section last year almost 14 weeks early.

Isla spent 79 days being treated on NICU before she was well enough to go home and has thrived ever since.

The appeal also received £1,000 from a charitable trust in the county and other donations which help the Hospitals Charity reach the target which will cover the accommodation costs for one year.

Bethany said “We are so pleased that the Baby Rocks concert has helped the charity reach the target.

“We live close to the hospital when Isla was in NICU but we made friends with others who stayed in McKee House and know how important it was for them to be close to their baby.

“It is fantastic to think that new parents will be able to stay at Mckee House for free – and have one less thing to worry about at such a difficult time.”

NNUH Head of Fundraising Louise Cook said: “We are so grateful to everyone who helped us reach the £15,000 target this year.

“There can be huge costs involved in a hospital stay –particularly for people who don’t like close to the hospital – travel expenses, food, childcare, not to mention lost wages, and offering McKee House for free, we hope this reduces the further stress of finding a place to stay.

“Some of our babies can be in hospital for weeks or even months at a time and McKee House provides not only a room to stay but a much-needed opportunity for them to rest away from the pressures of the unit.

“Having secured funding for one year, we hope there’s a business or organisation which can help us to keep this going in future years.”

If you would like to discuss the project, please contact Louise Cook on 01603 287107 or email louise.cook@nnuh.nhs.uk

For more information about N&N Hospitals Charity and how you can help, please contact fundraising@nnuh.nhs.uk or go to www.nnuhcharity.org.uk

LynnWe Did It! Appeal helps parents of NICU babies