A County Galway family whose baby was born prematurely a year ago was so impressed by the level of care their son received that they organised a fundraiser to benefit the facilities which looked after him.
Loughrea husband and wife, Kiara and Tony Keary and 41 family members and friends, took part in an 8K road race in the town recently. It raised €5,000 for the neonatal intensive care units at University Hospital Galway and the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street in Dublin.
Their son Lachlan was born on September 18 last year at just 24 weeks and 4 days, weighing 720g (1lb 10oz ) at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street.
He spent 24 weeks altogether in hospital, 14 weeks in Dublin and a further 10 in Galway. “He had a very long and difficult start in life,” explains Kiara, who works as a primary teacher in Creagh, Ballinasloe. “But thanks to the amazing people in the NMH Holles Street in Dublin and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Galway we have our healthy, happy little boy.”
When Lachlan was born his parents were told it would be a “rollercoaster of a journey”. “That is probably the best way to describe our time in hospital. There were extreme highs - seeing him open his eyes for the first time, getting to hold our son for the first time (he was nine days old ), seeing him wear clothes for the first time (he was 10 weeks old! ), seeing him moved from his incubator to a cot, moving him from Dublin to Galway and of course on March 5, finally getting to take him home.
“These are things you expect and take for granted as a first time parent but they were huge milestones for Lachlan. However, there were extreme lows, too. Having to watch your tiny baby fight for his life is the most distressing thing for any parent and Lachlan had to fight for his life more than just once.”
Kiara says they could not have got through his 24 week hospital stay without the support of family and friends.
“However the nurses and doctors in Dublin and Galway became part of our ‘family’ too. They are the most wonderful people you will ever meet, they took care of not only Lachlan but us too. They showed such compassion, empathy and such love to us while also explaining all the necessary medical procedures and processes Lachlan had to endure. We shared laughs and great moments on the good days and on the tough days they were a pillar of support. We owe them so much for all they have done for us.”
Lachlan overcame numerous complications and had to be resuscitated twice. On October 19 he suffered a bowel perforation and needed nine shots of adrenaline. Kiara says thanks to the quick response from the nurses and doctors in Holles Street hospital he survived.
He needed resuscitation again on December 27 and was admitted to UHG’s neonatal intensive care unit.
“Thanks to the staff in Galway he survived. These are just two of the incidents where Lachlan needed urgent intervention. Tony and I didn’t even know neonatal intensive care units existed until the 18th Sptember 2014, they then became our world and we owe them so much for taking such wonderful care of Lachlan throughout his six months with them.”
Kiara and Tony were deeply touched by the kindness, compassion, and understanding of staff at both University and Holles Street Hospitals in addition to the highest standard of care which Lachlan received there.
The Kearys wanted to do something to show their appreciation for the neonatal intensive care units and decided to run the 8K Road Race in Loughrea.
“We asked family and friends to support us and 41 family members and friends ran with us to help raise much needed funds and awareness for these two hospitals. We have had support from all over the world. A group of friends in Melbourne, also ran an 8k on Sunday 27th September, to show their support. One in 10 babies is born premature in Ireland and if we can help just one other family with some support it would be a fantastic achievement.
“We would like to thank the Loughrea Athletic Club for allowing us the opportunity to take part in the Road Race. We would especially like to thank all those that ran with us and collected so much money for the two hospitals. We would also like to thank all our families and friends for their support and encouragement, not only over the last month but throughout Lachlan’s first year.”
Should anyone wish to donate contact Kiara Keary at (087 ) 7825324.