A 12-year-old schoolboy is raising money for the Neonatal Units that saved his baby sister’s life and continue to treat her after she was born more than 16 weeks prematurely.
Cameron Muir, from Gamston in Nottingham, is shaving his hair this weekend (Saturday 7 July) to raise money for the Big Neonatal Appeal, which supports the Neonatal Units at the City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre.
His baby sister, Frances, was right on the limits of viability when she was born on 24 April 2018, at just under 24 weeks gestation. Medics at the QMC Neonatal Unit saved her life and spent the next five weeks trying to keep her condition stable. Frances was then transferred to the City Hospital Neonatal Unit, where she currently remains.
Cameron and Frances’ mum, Sarah Muir, explained: ““Frances’ first 24 hours were very difficult and frightening for all of us, and she remained very vulnerable for the first few weeks of her life. The amazing staff at Queen’s Medical Centre saved her life and then when we were transferred to the City Hospital, where she’s been cared for equally well and has gone from strength to strength.”
Frances was so premature that she suffered from chronic lung disease and other complications. She is now doing well and beginning to show her first smiles, and spend short amounts of time breathing without help.
Cameron, who attends Rushcliffe School, has decided to raise money for the two Neonatal Units and said: “I decided to do the sponsored hair shave because I wanted to do more for Frances and other babies like her who would have to be born early.”
He will have his hair shaved off this weekend at Sutherland and Barnett in Nottingham city centre. The salon has kindly offered to cut Cameron’s hair for free and is helping him raise money by telling their other customers about his fundraising and putting collection tins on their counters.
Cameron has already smashed his £350 target more than three times over, so far raising over £1,100 for the Big Neonatal Appeal, which is raising money for improved facilities, specialist equipment and research at Nottingham’s Neonatal Units.
Mum Sarah said: “We are so touched by Cam’s motive for fundraising and I’m incredibly proud of how he behaved throughout this entire experience so far. He has shown how strong he is and what a lovely young man he is becoming.”
Sarah was in hospital from 18 weeks into her pregnancy, when doctors knew her baby would be born prematurely but were not sure just how prematurely, and she says the time apart was hard for Cameron.
She explained: “It was very difficult for all of us, but particularly Cam. Having your Mum in hospital is not much fun. He visited me every single day, and at weekends he came and spent the day with me. My parents had Cam practically move in, they were amazing. And my partner Dave, who literally never allowed us to give up a second of hope even in my darkest and scariest moments, has been my true rock.
“Friends rallied round and visited me, and had Cam for the day and overnight. You really do find light in dark times, and people really are quite amazing, even people I hadn’t met before!”
Sarah is also full of praise for the staff at Nottingham’s hospitals who cared for her and Frances during their time on the wards. She said: “The staff on the maternity ward B26 at the QMC were just amazing and I really tried to embrace what was my home temporarily – I miss them actually. And the staff on the Neonatal Units at Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital are true heroes and heroines.
“Without exception, all the staff have been incredible, and have supported us all mentally. not just physically. There is light in most situations if you look hard enough.”
Dr Don Sharkey, Neonatal Consultant and Associate Professor of Neonatal Medicine at the QMC Neonatal Unit, said: “We are all so touched by Cameron’s choice to fundraise for the Big Neonatal Appeal. The money he raises will make a huge difference to our smallest patients like Cameron’s sister Frances, who need specialist care on our Neonatal Units, as well as the families of the 1,500 babies we care for each year. It will also help us provide the most up to date diagnostic equipment, which is vital in achieving good outcomes for our newborns and giving the most fragile of babies the best chance of a great start in life.”
Siân Griffith, Fundraiser at Nottingham Hospitals Charity, said: “We want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Cam for his amazing fundraising efforts in honour of his baby sister Frances. He’s doing a truly wonderful, selfless thing to help other young patients like his sister, and he has already raised an astounding amount of money. We look forward to seeing the photos after his head shave!”
To sponsor Cameron, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/cameron-muir1
To find out more about the Big Neonatal Appeal, to make a donation or get fundraising ideas, please go to www.nottinghamhospitalscharity.org.uk