Seven brave cyclists are taking a 90-mile bike ride to raise money for hospitals who tried in vain to save the life of a poorly twin a year ago.
Stacy Howarth and partner Karl Aran lost baby Matthew two days after he was born.
Their trip is a bid to help the Horton General Hospital maternity staff and special care baby unit (SCBU) and Southampton General’s peadiatric intensive care unit (PICU) for their valiant efforts to save the baby.
“Matthew died on July 30 last year so on the anniversary we are cycling from Banbury to Southampton to raise money for both hospitals,” said Ms Howarth, from Brackley.
The teaching assistant became pregnant ten months after her son Lewis was born at the Horton and suffered a complicated pregnancy.
“At 20 weeks the twins developed twin to twin transfusion so we had laser surgery in London,” said Ms Howarth.
“A caesarian section was planned for 34 weeks but this had to be postponed due to lack of beds at Oxford. My waters broke and I had to find a hospital with SCBU - which Banbury had available.
“There were two teams ready to help the twins when Matthew and Daniel were born on July 28. Unfortunately Matthew had difficulties breathing. SCBU team stabilised him and he was transferred to Oxford.,” she said.
“It was discovered he had constricted TAPVD (Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage). He needed heart surgery which only Southampton General could provide.
“I was transported with Daniel to be with Matthew. Unfortunately in spite of everyone’s best efforts we lost Matthew at two-days-old.
“We came back to the Horton where we were still able to have the support from SCBU for Daniel,” said Ms Howarth.
“The staff on the maternity ward were unbelievably supportive and helped my family to visit. I always had someone to talk to and Karl was allowed to stay with me and Daniel.
“We appreciate everything they did for us and both our boys. Without the Horton SCBU we would have had to have stayed in Southampton, away from family, which would have been difficult.”
Ms Howarth hopes the bike ride, which takes place on July 30, will raise £1,000 through sponsorship and donations for Horton SCBU and Southampton PICU.
“We have seven riders, my brother Lee Howarth, his girlfriend Jasmin Wilmot, myself and Karl and friends Chris Marsh, Andy Bray and Ants Cossar. Some of them are regular cyclists but the majority have trained specifically for this event to raise the money,” said Ms Howarth.
“We leave the Horton at 8am and aim to be in Southampton by 5pm. My dad Graham Howarth is driving the support van with refreshments and first aid kits on the day, whilst my mum Tracy Howarth is riding a motorcycle for the event.”
Donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Stacy-Howarth1 for Southampton PICU or https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Stacy-Howarth2 for Banbury SCBU.