Life

Tiny Life's white collar boxing event steps up the fight for premature babies

Fancy joining the fight to help ensure premature babies and their families receive vital care and support? A forthcoming fundraising event by the charity Tiny Life could be the opportunity you've been waiting for...

Brenda Johannesson with her twins Eden and Odin square up to TinyLife Ted at the charity’s east Belfast family centre

NORTHERN Ireland’s only premature and sick baby charity TinyLife is currently getting 'fighting fit' as it looks forward to its forthcoming white-collar boxing event in Belfast.

Taking place on Thursday October 25 at the La Mon Hotel and Country Club in Castlereagh, the event will be the culmination of six weeks of grueling twice-weekly training sessions for all participants, who will be seeking sponsorship for their in-the-ring endeavours.

Bfit Gym on Belfast’s Ravenhill Road will be helping to ensure all fighters are in top condition and ready to face their opponents in the La Mon ring come 'fight night' in October.

It’s all for a great cause, as organiser Gill McNeill explains: "Every year, over 2,000 babies are born too soon, too small or too sick in Northern Ireland," she says.

"Some arrive as early as 24 weeks, weighing as little as 1lb/454 grams – the same weight as half a bag of sugar!"

"At this understandably very stressful time for parents, TinyLife is there to provide practical advice, emotional support and to give a helping hand to families who have a baby in a neonatal intensive care unit."

Premature babies can be born as early as 24 weeks and survive. Currently, the smallest surviving baby born in Ireland was just 398g. Tiny Life (formerly NIMBA) funds research and provides a wide range of support services for families of premature and sick babies, including a breast pump loan service, hospital based support, home based volunteer support, baby massage, tiny gym, parents support group and baby sensory room service.

"Tiny Life's network of Family Support Officers in every neonatal unit across Northern Ireland, ensuring parents receive optimum support in hospital, at home and within the community," explains Gill.

Lisburn mum Brenda Johannesson, whose twins Odin and Eden, were born prematurely and are now approaching their second birthday, has fond memories of TinyLife’s Family Support team.

"TinyLife brought a bit of sparkle to our family in the form of Phyllis, our wonderful volunteer," says Brenda.

"My husband and I found being first time parents to twin babies really hard without any family support. Our Health Visitor suggested we might benefit from a TinyLife Volunteer.

"After an initial meeting with TinyLife Family Support Officer, Denise, to discuss our needs, she paired us with the fabulous Phyllis – and we haven't looked back!

"Phyllis visits once a week and her calming influence, listening ear and great sense of humour just make our week."

Six babies like Eden and Odin are born every day in the north. Last year, Tiny Life delivered over 11,000 hours of family support to families across NI, working with every neonatal unit including the Royal Victoria Hospital, Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, Craigavon Area Hospital, Daisyhill Hospital, Newry, Antrim Area Hospital, Altnagelvin Hospital and South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen.

You can show your support for TinyLife by registering for their white-collar boxing event at Buytickets.at/tinylife or by emailing gill@tinylife.org.uk.

Registration costs £50, with a minimum of £300 sponsorship.

:: For more information on the services provided by Tiny Life, visit Tinylife.org.uk.

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