‘Helping the people who helped me’

Melissa Gibson who is organising a charity event for Teenage Cancer Trust and a childrens hospice at Greens, Low Row, Sunderland.
Melissa Gibson who is organising a charity event for Teenage Cancer Trust and a childrens hospice at Greens, Low Row, Sunderland.
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A GIRL dubbed “a little miracle” at birth is giving back to the charities which helped her cope after being born three months prematurely.

Melissa Gibson weighed less than a sugar bag when she was born 14 weeks early.

The 23-year-old has undergone countless operations since developing bowel problems because of her premature birth, and was fitted with a colostomy bag which she was told she would have to use for life.

But after being referred to a consultant at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital she had the bag removed in June, and has been given “a new lease of life.”

Grateful for her new-found freedom, Melissa, of Pennywell, who is due to start a nursing placement at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Monday has organised an event to raise money for the charities Cancer Research UK, and The Butterwick Children’s Hospice, Stockton.

“I have friends who have cancer and have had to have a bag fitted,” she said. “And I know what it’s like, so I wanted to do something to help them.

“And I wanted to raise money for the hospice because they helped me so much when I was little. I used to go for respite care and they were fantastic.”

The former Barbara Priestman school pupil, whose mum Eileen Mitchell, 55, of Pennywell, and brother David Mitchell, 27, of Fulwell, will attend the charity night on Thursday, September 26, had hoped to raise about £300 for each charity, but has already bust that total having sold 200 tickets, which cost £5 each.

“That’s how much I would have liked to raise,” she said. “I didn’t want to sound greedy.

“But I’ve already got 200 people coming because friends and family have been buying tickets.”

The night will have live music from acts including singer Cody Williams.

A beauty therapist will be on hand giving massages and manicures, and a psychic will give offer visitors readings; all of the entertainers are donating their services for free.

“I’ve never felt better than I do now,” said Melissa, who spent weeks in hospital fighting for her life, and was eventually allowed home four months after her birth.

“I feel healthy and I can go where I want and pretty much do what I want.

“So I want to give something back because I know what people are going through.

“I have got a new lease of life, really, and not many people get that chance.”

Tickets for the charity night can be bought from Greens.