Family of Sunderland baby who died of heart condition raises £4,500 for defibrillators to be installed by Red Sky Foundation in tribute to seven-week-old Evie Darling
Little Evie Darling was just seven-weeks-old when she passed away in October.
Now mum and dad Demi-Leigh, 27, and Daniel, 29, and grandparents Keith, 52, and 49-year-old Kirsty Steele have raised £4,500 to pay for two new defibrillators to be installed by Sunderland’s Red Sky Foundation.
And the Foundation has placed a third of the life-saving machines at The Cliff, the pub which Keith and Kirsty run, in Mere Knolls Road, Fulwell.
Foundation founder Sergo Petrucci visited the pub to thank the family for their magnificent gesture.
Demi-Leigh said fundraising for the Foundation had been a huge help to the family in coming to terms with their loss.
‘There was nothing anybody could have done’
Evie was with her grandmother when she was taken ill: “She was at my mam’s and everything was normal,” she said.
"Then all of a sudden, she stopped breathing and her heart stopped.”
Kirsty desperately tried CPR in an effort to revive her granddaughter, but it was too late: “We found out after the post-mortem that she had a problem with her heart – there was nothing that anybody could have done,” said Demi-Leigh
Thankfully, she and Daniel have been assured by the country's best-known children’s hospital that their three-year-old son Sam is free of the same condition which claimed his sister’s life: “He has been to Great Ormond Street Hospital to be checked over to make sure he does not have any problem – and he is not affected,” said Demi-Leigh.
Looking for something they could do to help make sense of their loss, the family was put in touch with Sergio, who offered to install a defibrillator at the pub.
But the family wanted to do more.
“We had a fundraiser on Saturday night and we raised £4,500, with money still coming in,” said Demi-Leigh.
Sergio has agreed to ring-fence the money to ensure it is spent exactly where the family wants – and Demi-Leigh has picked out the perfect locations for two new machines.
"One will go to Fulwell Infants School and one to Fulwell Juniors,” she said. "I have spoken to both schools and they are over the moon to take them.
“Sam will be going to both schools and they are the ones that Evie would have gone to.”
‘The amount of support that we have had has been amazing’
The family has been astonished at the response to their loss from the local community and the number of people who have been asking what they can do to help: “It has been overwhelming – the amount of support that we have had has been amazing,” said Demi-Leigh.
Supporting the Red Sky Foundation meant that at last some good could come of their loss and had helped them to come to terms with Evie’s death, she added: “It means everything.
"We don’t want anyone else to have to be in the same situation – we just want to take something positive out of it.
"It has made it a little bit easier for me to cope with, that I am able to do something positive in her name.”
To support the Red Sky Foundation, visit https://redskyfoundation.com/