25 January 2016

Lyndsey Grainger and her husband Steven, both 31 and from Billingham, were devastated when their baby boy, Louie, was tragically born asleep at University Hospital of North Tees Hospital in July. Among other complications, Lyndsey had a "true knot" in her umbilical cord - a condition that only affects one in 1300 babies

The couple, who have a daughter Morgan, 10 and a son, Callum aged seven, were offered a Cuddle Cot - a piece of medical equipment that acts as a refrigerated cot and allows babies to stay in the room with their parents rather than be taken straight to the morgue.

Lyndsey, who works at Stockton's Babybrite studio where she provides parents-to-be with 4D scans of their unborn babies, says she would have 'completely fallen apart' if it weren't for the Cuddle Cot.

"There are just no words, how can you even begin to understand a situation like that," she said. "In my work I have twice had to tell parents coming for a scan that there was no heartbeat and it was really awful. I never imagined I'd find myself in this situation - you just can't process it - one day you're having a baby and then the next, you're not.

"The Cuddle Cot meant we actually got to spend time with Louie, to look at him and process what had happened. Without it he would have simple been taken straight to the morgue - which doesn't bear thinking about - the thought of him being taken away like that is horrendous."

Cuddle Cots are not available in all hospitals - North Tees was donated one by a charity called 4Louis - based in Washington, Tyne and Wear - which has raised funds and donated 45 units to UK hospitals in memory of the founder's grandson, Louis, who was stillborn.

Bob McGurrell, who runs the charity, says he has a list of 20 hospitals and hospices who have requested a Cuddle Cot, which cost £1500 each.

"Our main aim was originally to supply hospitals with memory boxes, touching keepsakes for grieving families, which we've done successfully for more than 200 hospitals and hospices across the country. We also travel the country speaking to midwives and nurses to explain how important it is to give parents choice at a very difficult time in their lives.

"We began including Cuddle Cots, which weren't around when we lost our Louis, because hospitals and hospices are now allowing bereaved parents to take their little ones home for a time if they wish. It's a huge drain on a small family run charity and we are delighted that Lyndsey and Steve were moved by their own experience to raise such vital funds to help others."

Having raised £1900, Lyndsey's step mum, Karen Parkin, mentioned her efforts to her employer, APM - an employment and training provider based in Middlesbrough, who have now donated £300 to the charity towards more much needed memory boxes.

Collectively APM's staff have raised thousands of pounds for charities and community organisations as part of its Give As You Earn (GAYE) scheme.

Lyndsey is now hoping publicity will inspire more people to donate to 4 Louis, to help all the other hospitals that don't current have a Cuddle Cot to buy one.

"We were so grateful for our Cuddle Cot and our time with Louie and are thankful to 4Louis and the compassion shown by staff at North Tees."

Ward matron at University Hospital of North Tees, Stephanie El-Malak, said: "The funds Lyndsey and Steven have raised will mean mums and dads just like them can spend precious extra time with their baby after suffering such a devastating loss."

For those wishing to donate, please go to www.justgiving.com/4louis/

For media enquiries, please contact

corporate.affairs@apm.net.au

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