02 Oct 2022

Derry couple give Christmas gift to nurses who helped save their twin babies' lives

Two little Derry twins have delivered an early Christmas present for the nurses who helped to save their lives. Saorlaith and Saoirse McLaughlin spent the first few weeks of their lives at Altnagelvin Hospital’s Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NNICU). The girls were born six weeks prematurely and suffering from a potentially fatal complication called "Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome," where one baby gets the majority of the blood flow and nutrients from the placenta. Their parents, Bob and Michelle, have since raised a staggering £26,000 for the unit, with the help of their friends and work colleagues. This year alone, they raised over £11,000 through a tattoo fun day and a sponsored walk. But the McLaughlin’s decided that as well as vital equipment for the ward they wanted some of the money to be spent on the nurses, who work so tirelessly for the tiny babies in their care. “This year we wanted to put a bit of focus on the nurses and let them know we appreciate everything they do for sick new borns in Derry and beyond and especially our own twin girls,” explained Bob. “We asked the nurses to give us a list of stuff they needed for their tea room and of course we added a few extras and we are also going to buy them a new three seater sofa. “We felt it was very important that the nurses should have everything they need to make decent food. “It’s not a lot but it will make a difference to them.” “We want them to know that people are thinking of them and appreciate what they do. “The NHS canteen is closed when they are on night shift and at the minute I think all they have is a kettle and a toaster. “As my wife says, when the parents go home at night we are leaving our babies in their care.” The couple gave the nurses a voucher for a fridge freezer, cups, plates, cutlery, glasses a George Foreman grill, a set of knives, a radio and a £100 M&S voucher. And next month, they will present a cheque for the remaining £10,803 to be spent on frontline services at the unit. “It was fantastic to catch up with some of the lovely nurses who did so much for our girls Cathy McClafferty Bridgeen Devine and Ciara Doherty and they passed on their thanks for the generosity of the public “We’d like to give a big thank you to everyone who made this possible including Michael Kelly who held a fundraiser at the Tattoo Lounge in Rathmor Business Park in the twins’ honour.” The tattoo fun day and last weekend’s sponsored walk have raised over £11,000, which will be donated to the unit next month. Mr McLaughlin says his employers and colleagues at First Source have played a huge part in helping them raise the £26,000 over the past three years. “The management have been so supportive,” he continued. “They pick their own charity every year, but they also help a lot of smaller charities and a lot of it goes under the radar because they don’t advertise it. “When I brought my sponsorship form for the walk into work I raised £1,000 in just five hours. “That’s how generous people in First Source are, there were people donating £30 and £40.” Picture Saorlaith and Saoirse McLaughlin  

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