Margaret Clark is a mum on a mission.
She knows first-hand what it’s like for a child to be born premature, as her daughter Hannah was born at 30 weeks, weighing just 2lbs 2oz, at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
And now she wants to do her bit to help other parents whose babies are born early.
Margaret, from Cleveleys, is involved with a world prematurity group and trying to organise a shoe box appeal for much-needed items, such as reusable nappies and clothing, for premature babies in Pakistan. The plan is to take the shoe boxes out to Pakistan in November.
And the group is also collecting for similar boxes packed full of essential items in the UK, to help parents whose children are in special care baby units, for World Prematurity Month.
Margaret, whose daughter Hannah is now seven and goes to Norbreck Primary Academy, said: “This is something very close to my heart, so I would like to do as much as I possibly can.
“I had my own experience with premature birth, though I was lucky – my daughter is now seven and healthy.
“But when she was born, I could have lost her.
“The care she received at the hospital was excellent and I’m sure it made a difference.
“But in Pakistan, in the poorer areas, people don’t have access to the same care.
“They don’t have access to all the items they need – and those sort of things are the last thing you think about if your baby is born premature.
“So for the shoe boxes, we need items like blankets, small hats, small teddies, reusable nappies and even ink and ink pads for parents to make hand and footprints with their babies.
“The nappies need to be reusable, not the disposal type, because providing them can really help families out.
“For the boxes in the UK, items needed are things like essentials for parents, who might be staying at the hospital or in a town away from home – things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, face-wipes, biscuits, cereal bars and so on.
“All those little things they don’t have time to think about.
“When your baby is born premature you are in such shock, the only thing you can think about is your baby.
“They might be away from their families and have no support.”
Margaret – who uses a wheelchair – hopes her campaign will not only help to collect the items, it will also raise awareness of premature birth. World Prematurity Day is November 17.
She said: “Especially when it’s the first baby, women might not know what’s normal and what the signs might be.
“It’s important if they are worried, or feel something’s not quite right, to contact their midwife. It may well be nothing. But if something is going on, they can be checked and get care, if needed.”
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