Covid restrictions lead to launch of £2,500 appeal to help Preston family stay together in Liverpool when newborn twin has heart surgery

A £2,500 JustGiving appeal has been launched to help fund a "home from home" for a month for a Preston family whose unborn twin boy will need heart surgery at Alder Hey Hospital soon after birth.

By Fiona Finch
Thursday, 24th September 2020, 6:20 pm

Emily Clarke and Adam Gilmour face a major dilemma as soon as their twins, due on October 14, are born.

The Coronavirus pandemic means their plans to stay at the Ronald McDonald House at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, have been put on hold, leaving the family facing a possible multi-thousand pound bill for alternative accommodation near the hospital.

The babies, a boy and a girl, are due to be delivered by caesarean section at Liverpool Women's hospital. Shortly after birth the baby boy will need transferring to Alder Hey for urgent heart surgery.

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Adam and Emily pictured with Della-Rae (Photo:Neil Cross)

The couple from Pioneer Close, Bamber Bridge, already have a one year old, Della-Rae. They had hoped Adam and Della-Rae could stay at the Ronald McDonald House, with, when possible, Emily and the other newborn twin, while their new son convalesced from heart surgery. But Ronald McDonald House is currently closed to all new admissions and is not accepting admissions from local lockdown regions including Lancashire. (Blackpool is not included in those Lancashire restrictions.)

Now the family faces uncertainty over how to keep their family together. Both Emily and Adam stressed that Alder Hey or Ronald McDonald House are not to blame for the circumstances they face. Emily said: "It's all down to this Coronavirus why they can't accommodate us...I have got a lot of support, but it's just not my ideal for Della to stay here for a month and me and Adam having to travel back and forward every day."

Emily continued: "I've been through trauma in the past with pregnancies. I had a stillborn baby in 2015. The last thing I want to be is apart from all my babies, so we're trying to raise money to get an apartment over there. Even if it's just someone offering accommodation, it's somewhere to stay. Just some accommodation for the month that's all we need."

She said: "I have got to have the caesarean at Liverpool Women's Hospital...It's also how I will recover from my caesarean."

Emily and Adam pictured with daughter Della-Rae Photo: Neil Cross

The couple found out at Emily's 20 week scan that their boy twin would need surgery because he has a congenital heart condition - transposition of the great arteries.

Emily, 27, also fears the twins may arrive earlier than planned. She said: "I've been in hospital already three times having contractions."

Adam, 30, said he is now concerned that even if a place did become available for them at Ronald McDonald House when the twins are born it might still be better to be in self contained accommodation elsewhere to reduce risks of Coronavirus/quarantine restrictions. He said he had been advised to call the House next week and said: "I'm a bit down really. It's just stressful. I rang Ronald McDonald house and they've been brilliant, but it's the Covid...we're stuck what to do."

Adam is unemployed after giving up work to support Emily and cannot drive and so would face a 100 mile round trip if visiting Alder Hey on a daily basis.

After reading of their dilemma on Emily's Facebook page family friend Kylie Dixon, a senior care assistant from Bamber Bridge, stepped forward to launch the Just Giving appeal. She said: "The mum and dad are people I've known all my life ...when I read Emily's post about the struggles she's having I just felt I needed to do something. It's early days. It's spreading the word about it."

On the new JustGiving page Kylie wrote: " Adam is expected to be 50 miles away from the hospital with no transport whilst twin boy will be in hospital with no-one else there but nurses, whilst Emily will be recovering from a c-section at a different hospital. We are hoping we can have the funds together to pay for accommodation for them all to be together for the crucial first four weeks. Please help this little family take some stress away by helping donate. Anything from as little as a pound will help!"

She noted: "Emily has had a tough time during this pregnancy and its not getting any easier...This is every parent's worst nightmare to have to see your child go through something like this."

Emily added: "I feel really grateful she (Kylie) has done this for me."

A spokesperson for Ronald McDonald House said: "Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, we are operating at a limited capacity in our House in order to safeguard the health and safety of our families and staff, which remain our top priority. A parent who stayed with us was diagnosed with COVID-19 24 hours after he was discharged from our House. He was then retested two days later and received a negative result. As an added precaution, we made the decision not to take in any more families in our House for 14 days, in addition to our policy of not taking families from local lockdown regions. Our mission of supporting families is extremely important to us and we look forward to welcoming more families in to our Houses as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The couple are also aware that visiting arrangements at Alder Hey hospital will be restricted due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

* The JustGiving appeal page is at