A FUND-RAISING drive has been launched to help boost a hospital unit for seriously ill and premature babies.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sunderland Royal Hospital, provides life-saving care to poorly tots and support to their families.
Nationwide, it is estimated that one in every nine tots is born either sick or premature – more than 80,000 tots every year – with a baby being admitted to an NICU every six minutes.
Now staff nurses Julie Bennett, Jessica Marchant, Hayley Agnew and Zoe Hutchinson have organised a charity ball to help improve developmental care equipment, including positional aids and incubator covers, and overnight accommodation facilities for parents.
“We are aiming to increase general public awareness of the unit and the service we provide to babies that have been born sick and premature,” said Julie.
“Some of the babies are with us for months at a time and often parents have to stay overnight on the unit.
“As one of only four neonatal intensive care units in the region, we regularly have to admit babies and their families who are a long distance away from their home address.”
She added: “Proceeds raised from the ball are going to be used to improve the facilities and bedrooms we provide for the parents’ use, and we also want to provide very important developmental care equipment for the babies.”
The event, in Roker, could be the first in a series of fund-raisers in the coming months.
“This is a large event that we have organised in order to raise funds for the unit,” said Julie.
“Throughout the evening, we intend to hold raffles and a charity auction.
“Everybody who contributes to the event will receive promotion on the night in the evening programme by way of thanks.”
The charity ball will take place at the Roker Hotel on Friday, March 8.
Organisers are appealing for an auctioneer, a possible celebrity, and prize donations.
For more information about the drive or to buy tickets, email email@example.com