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Cooper's memory inspires parents to help others

The experience of parents on our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has been further improved thanks to the fundraising efforts of a kind-hearted couple.   

Erin Bower and Matthew Clarke from Measham in Derbyshire donated 18 sets of crockery and cutlery for use in the Unit’s kitchen along with £1,565 raised through events with family friends and colleagues.  

The donation was made in memory of Erin and Matthew’s son Cooper, who spent one week being cared for on the Unit before tragically passing away in April.

Erin said: “Cooper was born in Derby at 25 weeks and transferred to NICU within three hours. Being born so early he had a lot of issues including bleed on the brain and lungs which was too much for his little body.”

“Whilst we were on NICU we noticed that supplies of crockery and cutlery in its kitchen were pretty depleted. We never left the Unit, and we found that having just 10 minutes away from the clinical setting to sit down and have a proper meal was invaluable. So when we left we wanted to know it was properly stocked for other families.”

“The only thing we can do after Cooper passed was to fundraise and make a donation and changes in his memory. We put our story out to family, friends and colleagues and everybody responded amazingly- my work alone held a number of fundraising events such as cake sales and coffee mornings raising going on £400.”

“The whole team on NICU were absolutely fantastic, they looked after Cooper so well. I’ve never known such a group of angels. Even the night he passed is one we got to share with him and we will treasure that forever, and its only thanks to the staff on NICU that we were able to do that.”

“Cooper was lovely, a little fighter from the start. He was very particular about his ventilator position and didn’t like being touched- if you came in to do his care and he dint want any of it he’d let you know! We’re very thankful for that week we had with him.”

Erin and Matthew presented their donation to NICU matron Katy Edwards and Ward Manager Julia Wilkinson.   

Katy said: “We’re so grateful to Erin and Matthew for their wonderful donation, and for giving us the chance to meet Cooper. We’re incredibly passionate about family care and experience and with help from UHNM Charity have just finished refurbishing the parent bedrooms, with the next job the Unit’s kitchen. Erin and Matthew’s donation couldn’t be more timely with ceramics and cutlery being used now by families and the funds ready for those kitchen upgrades.”

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