Family fun for a good cause

Michelle Hames is organising a charity fundraiser at FLeetwood Cricket Club to raise money and awareness for Strep B, a condition which her son Theo-Isaac Broten contracted.  She is pictured on the right with Sharne Jones with her son Noah Jones who also contracted the condition.
Michelle Hames is organising a charity fundraiser at FLeetwood Cricket Club to raise money and awareness for Strep B, a condition which her son Theo-Isaac Broten contracted. She is pictured on the right with Sharne Jones with her son Noah Jones who also contracted the condition.
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For Fleetwood mum Michelle Hames, her family fun day on Saturday means a lot.

Not only is she hoping to raise money for a cause close to her heart, she is also hoping to raise awareness of a condition she has first-hand experience of.

Michelle and a group of her friends have organised a family fundraiser at Fleetwood Cricket Club, in aid of Group B Strep Support.

When Michelle was pregnant, she was diagnosed with the Strep B infection – which passed during childbirth to her son Theo-Isaac Broten.

Fortunately, they were both treated with antibiotics and Theo suffered no adverse affects from the infection.

But Strep B can cause serious illness, or even be fatal to newborns.

One in four pregnant women have group B in the UK, but testing for the infection is not routine.

It’s been a tough six months for Michelle and Theo – who due to another, unconnected medical condition has had to undergo 10 operations in his short life.

Michelle, 26, said: “I really hope this event not only raises money, but also raises awareness.

“Before I was told I had Strep B, I didn’t know about it – I was just given a leaflet to take away. I burst into tears when I realised how serious it could be for my baby. Some babies are not affected by it and it doesn’t always pass from the mother, but it can be so serious for babies.

“We were lucky, I was given antibiotics and it was passed to Theo – but he was given antibiotics too and is fine.

“He was born with another condition, called choanal atresia, which basically means he had no holes in his nose, it was just bone.

“When he was born, he was going blue and eventually a senior paediatrician diagnosed it and he was rushed to the special care baby unit and put on a ventilator.

“He’s been under the care of Manchester Children’s Hospital and already had 10 operations.

“He’s been so brave, he’s had a lot to contend with.

“It was when we were at Manchester on one occasion, I was talking to the mum of another baby, who had a tracheotomy and had suffered brain damage.

“She was telling me it was because she had Strep B and it had been passed to her baby when she gave birth.

“That’s what made me decide I wanted to do something.

“Another of my friends, Sharne Jones, and her baby Noah were also affected by it and she has helped me organise this event – she has been ace.

“It started off as an idea and it’s just grown and grown.”

The fun day will include a bouncy castle, face-painting, stalls, food, a DJ and entertainment, photobooth, a catwalk fashion show by Jasmine’s Boutique, a raffle, tombola and auction.

Michelle said: “I can’t believe how generous people have been.

“We have fantastic prizes for the auction, including a year’s scholarship to Star Maker, an outfit from Jasmine’s Boutique and make-over by Chloe, and hair and make-over by Charlotte Dawson.

“It’s been so lovely how kind everyone has been.

“My friends who have been organising the event with me have been amazing and I really appreciate everything.

“We really want to make women aware of this and the fact you are not routinely tested. Mine was only really picked up because I was quite poorly during pregnancy with other issues.

“Women won’t realise. Really this does not need to happen. We are getting a petition together as well.

“We would just love to see as many families as possible at the fun day to spread the word and help raise the profile.”

The event will run between 12.30 and 5.30pm on Saturday, at Fleetwood Cricket Club. Entry is by donation and everybody is welcome.