THREE young siblings who owe their lives to the care they received when they were born prematurely have launched a fundraising drive to help other early-arriving babies.
Mellisa, Shyanne and Dylan Creed, of Wakefield Road, Pontefract, are starting their charitable efforts next Wednesday, when they will be selling home-made baking and running a lucky dip on the town’s market.
Cash raised will be given to the neo-natal unit at Wakefield’s Pinderfields Hospital to buy tiny baby clothes, while mum Kerry-Anne English has friends and relatives busily knitting more.
Mellisa, 16, was born ten weeks prematurely, weighing 2lb 6oz, Shyanne, 11, weighed 3lb when she arrived seven weeks early and Dylan, aged nine, was only as long as a biro pen when he was born 13 weeks prematurely, weighing a mere 1lb 6oz.
The first baby born to Mrs English was a son, Curtis, who died shortly before his second birthday due to complications arising from his prematurity.
Shyanne, a pupil at Pontefract’s Halfpenny Lane J&I School, said: “It was my mum’s idea to do something because Curtis would have been 18 this year. It’s going to be for his birthday and for all other premature babies as well.
“I’ve told everybody at school and they all think it’s a fantastic idea. They didn’t know that I’d been a premature baby.”
Next week’s stall is the first of several events the siblings and their parents have planned. Mellisa is organising a talent show for fellow pupils at Featherstone Technology College, the family are staging a Halloween party at Knottingley Town Hall on October 27 and stepdad James English is doing a 40-mile sponsored cycle ride on August 3.
Mellisa said: “When I told people at school that we were raising money, my friends said they’d like to help me put on a talent show.
“We haven’t got a date yet but we’re going to have a live show at the school and we’ll sell tickets for £2.50.”
Mellisa and Shyanne were born at the Royal Berkshire Hospital when the family lived in Reading, although the prelude to Dylan’s birth was especially traumatic for Mrs England, as she was moved from Pontefract to Bradford, Birmingham and Dudley in search of a vacant neo-natal bed.
She said: “The care and support you get from the staff in these units is amazing, I can’t praise them enough.
“Unless you know someone who’s had a premature baby, it can feel like it’s just you – but they help you all the way as well as providing amazing care for your baby.
“We asked the unit at Pinderfields what they needed most, which is why we’re knitting and buying clothes.”
Contact James by email at email@example.com to get involved.