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August at First Touch in Tooting

August at First Touch in Tooting

First Touch

Sarah Collins, Charity Director at First Touch, who support sick & premature babies at St George's, writes about the past month and how they’re gearing up for Autumn.

August is always our quietest month at First Touch charity, with schools out, families on holiday, youth groups closed and toddler sessions on hold. Louise and I also took holidays with our families, which was great. We are recharged and ready for the new term!

Working at the neonatal unit, we meet families of premature babies, of babies needing surgery and of babies born with genetic conditions needing assessment and treatment programmes. The families of babies at St George's can reach out to many of the wonderful medical charities for advice on their baby's medical condition, and we've been lucky to work alongside some wonderful organisations.

One such charity is is CDH UK, which helps and advises families with a baby born with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, a birth defect of the diaphragm causing the abdominal organs to push into the chest cavity, hindering proper lung formation. Baby Xavier, was born with this condition at Croydon University Hospital on the 15th of July 2017, weighing a healthy 8lb 9oz.  No scans had picked it up prior to birth, but once born he was diagnosed with a left Congenital Diaphramatic Hernia.

Xavier's family were in shock, and his dad, Arron, said, “With the average prognosis for babies diagnosed with CDH statistically at 50%, there was a possibility he wouldn't make it.” Once born, Xavier was transferred from Croydon to our neonatal unit at St George's hospital in Tooting where he could receive specialist surgical care. Xavier had a major operation at just 5 days old to repair the hernia. Six weeks later he was well enough to go home.
To say thank you for Xavier's care, grateful dad Arron and friends organised a cycle ride from London to Amsterdam, raising over £1500 each for First Touch and CDH UK. Arron's 'Ride 4 Xavier' fundraising page can be viewed here.

Ride for Xavier

There was a definite Amsterdam theme for our charity in August, as ex-Saracens rugby legend Muna Ebongalame organised a rugby tour for Amsterdam International 7's & 10's and Harpenden 7's. So far they've raised almost £900 to fund equipment at the neonatal unit, with matched funding promised to double this. Muna has been a long term supporter of First Touch, and has played charity rugby matches and cycled from London to Portsmouth for us in the past. Details of Muna and The Dambusters' rugby fundraiser can be found here

So, now we are back at St George's, ready to embrace the autumn term. We have loads of exciting plans in the pipeline, including revamping and relaunching our website, and look forward to updating you next month!

Enjoy September! 

To find out more, please visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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