A MIDWIFE from Basildon University Hospital will be walking a kilometre for every year of her life, to honour two premature babies and raise money for children’s facilities in the hospital.
Lisette Harris (pictured left) decided to mark her significant birthday by taking part in a 50k sponsored walk for the hospital’s Polly Parrot appeal. The appeal aims to raise £250,000 to provide specialist equipment and high quality facilities in the paediatric ward and the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
She said: “In my role as a Specialist Midwife for Infant Feeding, I spend many hours in both of these departments, caring for patients and supporting families.”
Lisette is dedicating her walk to two babies, Edward and Ella- Mae, who were born in Basildon Hospital at 28 and 29 weeks respectively. She says: “The mums were incredibly strong and determined young women who helped each other through the difficult patches. Establishing breastfeeding when your baby is poorly can be quite a challenge and it was wonderful to be able to support them and see results.
“From the word go it was obvious that Ella-Mae was going to be quite a character – always pulling out her feeding tube and determined to do things her own way – we had a saying in the end that it was the “Ella-Mae Way” or “No-Way”.”
Basildon Hospital’s website and social media project, Feeding Together, was set up by Lisette and her colleague Geraldine Purver, to encourage and support breastfeeding. Lisette introduced Ella-Mae’s mother Jenny Coveney, who lives in Corringham, to the Feeding Together Facebook site which Jenny says proved invaluable.
Lisette in training for her 50k walk
She said: “During the night time feeds when I needed inspiration to carry on I was quite shocked when after midnight I would post something and Lisa would ping straight back to say I would see her in the morning and we would sort it.”
Ella-Mae and Edward are now both at home and thriving. Edward’s mum Mikaela Pepper, from Aveley, said: “Lisette was a wonderful support and everyone in NICU does a fantastic job.”
Lisette adds: “Both these babies have both left a special imprint on my heart. The hours that I spent supporting them both on the NICU is the reason that I am dedicating the walk to them.
“The Thames Path Challenge is a small test of endurance for me compared to the weeks of ups and downs faced by Edward’s and Ella-Mae’s parents.”
The Thames Path Challenge takes place on 14 September. If you would like to support Lisette’s fundraising, please go to www.justgiving.com/Lisette-Harris