Premature baby parents ‘want to give a little back’ to neonatal unit

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There has been a good public response to a Cookstown couple’s social media appeal for ‘baby parcels’.

Teachers Mark and Gail Wilson launched the campaign as they wanted to gave “a little back” for the care shown to them at Craigavon Area Hospital over the summer.

Their son Daniel was born ten weeks early and spent several weeks in the hospital’s neonatal unit.

“Lots of people have been very generous and have been leaving parcels off at the shops where we will collect them,” Mark said.

The couple said they had been overwhelmed by the kindness of the nursing team and they wanted to do something as a “thank you” to them.

Mark explained that it was Gail who “had the inspiration for the idea” of putting together care packages and presenting them to new parents over the festive period.

Gail put it on social media and shared it with a few friends and after that it was widely shared.

“Basically it’s a box or shoe box filled with items that parents could use if the baby is in neonatal over Christmas,” he said.

“Things like fluffy socks, story books for children, shower gel and so on.

“The idea is that they can leave them with us or at a shop where we know the owners and we then call and collect them.”

Mark described the campaign as a “good use of social media for a change”.

“There are 16 families at the neonatal in Craigavon and at the moment we are on for a lot more than that, so they will then hopefully distribute them round other neonatal units in Northern Ireland to try and help families there,” he said.

“We know what it is like Daniel, our wee boy, was in for five weeks and while in hindsight he was doing really well there were lots of babies who were not doing well and the parents had to stay with them.

“It’s emotionally tough and the day can be quite long, so the idea is to give them some small thing to help them.”