A couple lost their premature twin baby only days after she was born after she developed a rare bowel condition.
Kelvin Gifford’s partner Claire Catlow gave birth to twins Eliza and Primrose on August 29.
Without any warning or prior symptoms, Eliza developed necrotising enterocolitis which affected her bowel and within 12 hours, she had passed away.
They now want to raise awareness of the condition which affects one in every 10,000 babies.
Only one in every 3,000 babies dies of the condition.
Kelvin said: “It’s difficult. We’ve still got Primrose here and it is a blessing she survived. The staff at the neonatal unit were amazing and they came to Eliza’s funeral. It’s quite unique for a baby to die from NEC and it really touched everyone.”
Since Eliza’s death, Kelvin set up a link to the Action website for research into NEC and so far the family have raised £1200. Kelvin wrote to Doctor Andrew Ewer, a consultant neonatologist at Birmingham Womens Hospital, following Eliza’s death for reassurance that more research would be done into NEC.
Kelvin said: “I just wanted some kind of reassurance that the money raised will go to the continued work the team at Birmingham are doing to identify this disease before it takes hold in premature infants. I also wanted to be kept up to date with any progress on research just for some comfort for me and my partner Claire.”
The couple from Laureston Avenue, Heysham, were allowed to bring Primrose home on October 21 last year and apart from a spell in hospital before Christmas she is in good health. The couple also have three other children between them, Wesley, 12, Luther, nine and Abigail, 17.
They have planted a tree in Happy Mount Park in memory of Eliza in the childrens’ community area in the park.
Kelvin, 42, said: “The new year was the cut off point to leave 2013 behind us. We will try to build our lives back up as best we can and get on with our lives the best we can.
“We’ll never forget Eliza, she was only with us for six days but she made such a big impact. It’s difficult because we still feel empty and a bit raw. But after Christmas and New Year we owe it to ourselves to have a cut off period and give Primrose as best a life as we can.
“We have kept all Eliza’s first babygro and her hat, in fact anything associated with Eliza, and when Primrose is old enough we will pass Eliza’s stuff onto her because it’s all she’s got of her sister.
“The staff at the neonatal unit were fantastic, they looked after us, especially Lynsey Pinch, the bereavement nurse, who has been a rock. Claire’s energies are focused on Primrose and she is taking each day as it comes. At the end of the day we are there for each other.”
Eliza’s tribute fund can be contributed to at www.action.org.uk/tribute/elizaviolet.