Mum’s skydive to help Sunderland hospital which saved her daughter

Deborah Smith, 29 with her two-year-old daughter Aimee.
Deborah Smith, 29 with her two-year-old daughter Aimee.
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A MUM has completed a death-defying skydive, inspired by her battling daughter.

Little Aimee Smith was born 14 weeks premature, weighing just 1lb 9oz, after mum Deborah, 29, developed HELLP syndrome – a severe form of pre-eclampsia – and had multiple organ failure, meaning Aimee had to be delivered by emergency Caesarean.

She was taken into intensive care and ventilated in an incubator as she needed constant oxygen.

“She took several turns for the worse – one being on Christmas Day – but the doctors and nurses were fantastic,” said Deborah, who spent a week in intensive care in Sunderland Royal Hospital.

“After a number of interventions and transfusions, she came through the worst. There was no apparent lasting damage, and five months later, Aimee came home.”

Aimee still had to overcome struggles and problems with feeding and chronic reflux.

But two years on, she is a bright and happy little girl.

“The staff at Sunderland Royal Hospital were amazing. It was our first-choice hospital because our family live there, and the level of care given was amazing.

“Aimee has visited the hospital since and they still remember us. Without them we wouldn’t be here.”

Now Deborah, who lives with Aimee’s dad Graham Handy, 31, of Roker, is giving back to families who have been through a similar situation.

The first-time mum, who works for autism charity Espa, did a skydive at Shotton Colliery airfield in Peterlee, yesterday, to raise money for the charity Bliss, which gives care and support to premature babies.

Before jumping, she said:“I’m really nervous. I’ve never done anything like this before, but I am excited. Graham has been very supportive, and he and all the family will be there to watch.

“The only thing that got me through sometimes was hearing other people’s stories, hearing about their struggles, and thinking if they can do it then so can I.

“I’d love it if I could inspire someone the way I have been by others.”

Deborah, who lives in Gateshead with Graham so he can be near his job at Northumberland Council, has so far raised £500.

“I had to raise £400 to do the jump, and anything after that is a bonus,” she said.

“I’d like to raise as much as I can, but any promotion for such an important cause is appreciated. No one thinks something like this will happen to them, but it can, and it is devastating to say the least.

“The worst is over, I think. I’m hoping it is because it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster couple of years.”