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Donation from parents of Baby Evie Compton gets Ipswich Hospital Sunrise Appeal over its £100,000 target

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:28 14 April 2016

Baby Evie, with her hearing aids that she has recently had fitted, at home with mum Sharon Halls.

Baby Evie, with her hearing aids that she has recently had fitted, at home with mum Sharon Halls.

Money donated to help premature baby Evie Compton born last year in the Dominican Republic is being given to the Ipswich Hospital Charity – and has helped smash a crucial fundraising target.

New mum Sharon Halls with daughter Evie before she left hospital in the Dominican Republic. It was one of the first times Miss Halls was able to hold her prematurely-born childNew mum Sharon Halls with daughter Evie before she left hospital in the Dominican Republic. It was one of the first times Miss Halls was able to hold her prematurely-born child

Evie was born to Sharon Halls and Daniel Compton on September 28 while the couple were holidaying on the island for a friend’s wedding.

Because she arrived 12 weeks early, weighing 2lbs 10oz, the family was not able to come home until she grew strong enough to cope with a pressurised aeroplane cabin. They finally got back on January 28.

Initially the new parents feared their travel insurance would not cover the medical costs Evie desperately needed and set up a fundraising campaign to cover her healthcare.

When it became clear the insurance was paying out Miss Halls and Mr Compton were left with more than £70,000 of donations from generous members of the public they no longer needed.

Daniel Compton with daughter EvieDaniel Compton with daughter Evie

Since returning home it has been the family’s intention to donate that to charities helping premature and sick babies.

And yesterday Miss Halls said £30,000 was to be given to the Ipswich Hospital Charity’s Sunrise Appeal – meaning it will now break it’s target of £100,000.

It comes just a few days after the hospital was left £1.5million in a man’s will.

“The appeal is perfect,” she said after speaking to the hospitals head of charity and fundraising Kate Ashton.

Homecoming party at Claydon And Barham Community centre for Baby Evie Compton who was born 12 weeks early in Dominican Republic. Pictured with Mum Sharon Homecoming party at Claydon And Barham Community centre for Baby Evie Compton who was born 12 weeks early in Dominican Republic. Pictured with Mum Sharon

“Kate mentioned about buying a specific piece of equipment with the money but I’m happy with whatever they need the most.

“I’m really happy it’s gone to pretty much exactly what I wanted it to.”

Miss Halls said when she first came home the donated money was at the back of her mind but was happy it was now going to a worthwhile cause.

She said: “We’d have loved to have sorted things out sooner but now at last it can go to an organised appeal.”

Homecoming party at Claydon And Barham Community centre for Baby Evie Compton who was born 12 weeks early in Dominican Republic. Pictured with mum and dad Dan and Sharon Homecoming party at Claydon And Barham Community centre for Baby Evie Compton who was born 12 weeks early in Dominican Republic. Pictured with mum and dad Dan and Sharon

Miss Halls added she knows how much the support of the neonatal unit’s staff and equipment will mean to parents.

“Something that makes it a little bit easier can take the pressure off people,” she said. “It’s a really good cause.”

The Sunrise Appeal was launched in 2014 to fund new equipment in Ipswich Hospital’s neonatal and paediatric departments and had a target of £100,000. The appeal is still open for donations as more equipment has been identified by staff as being needed.

David White, chairman of The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, said: “We are all absolutely thrilled and delighted to receive this donation from Evie and her parents.

Kate Ashton and Deanna Watkins celebrate reaching the £90,000 mark for the The Sunrise Appeal at Ipswich Hospital earlier this yearKate Ashton and Deanna Watkins celebrate reaching the £90,000 mark for the The Sunrise Appeal at Ipswich Hospital earlier this year

“It means we have well and truly reached our £100,000 Sunrise Appeal. Our sincere thanks to Evie and her family.

“Creating a much better environment for families is one example of the very long wish list of state of the art equipment which will make life better for children and parents in hospital which our clinicians put together which we are now able to buy.

“Thousands of families will benefit from the Sunrise Appeal and my thanks to everyone who has supported it.”

Although now home and doing well, it was discovered Evie has a hearing impairment which means she needs hearing aids.

Plans for the remaining money, which donors could reclaim once the appeal closed if they wanted, will see it donated to a charity for hearing impaired children and used to buy equipment for the hospital where Evie was treated in the Dominican Republic.

“Extremely emotional” to see daughter hearing properly for the first time

Despite now being a healthy baby girl Evie Compton has suffered impaired hearing as a result of her premature birth.

Mum Sharon Halls explained while they had suspected something before they flew home from the Dominican Republic it was not until her daughter had tests in the UK it was confirmed.

“We had a test done in the Dominican Republic and she was non-responsive then but they couldn’t fit the equipment properly because of her size,” Miss Halls said.

“We were hoping it was because she was so small they couldn’t get a correct reading.”

It was in February the hearing problem was confirmed, though as Evie is not completely she has since got hearing aids which have improved things.

“I knew I was going to cry whatever,” Miss Halls said of the first time the devices were fitted, allowing Evie to hear properly for the first time.

“It was extremely emotional to think with just getting her hearing aids she could be perfectly healthy. When she started crying that was quite upsetting; it was a bit too much for her.”

However despite this additional hurdle, and a haemangioma (a benign tumour of blood vessels, often forming a red birthmark) on the back of Evie’s head, the family are doing well.

“I’m enjoying motherhood,” Miss Halls said. “I’m taking to it better than I thought I would.”

Appeal will help provide top quality care in children and baby units

The Sunrise Appeal was launched in December 2014 with the aim of raising £100,000 for the neonatal and paediatric departments at Ipswich Hospital to advance clinical care and provide greater support for parents.

The neonatal unit cares for more than 500 premature and sick babies and their families each year while the paediatric team cared for more than 3,500 inpatients and almost 10,000 outpatients aged from one day to 16-years-old in 2015.

A wish-list created by of what they wanted the money raised to fund included a family-friendly parent bay in the special care baby unit (£8,000), at least eight neonatal resuscitation devices (£1,500 each), six sleep study machines used in the diagnosis of sleep disorders (£3,000 each) and an extra wall-mounted cardiac monitor (£2,000).

Despite hitting its initial target more equipment identified as being needed in the units since the Sunrise Appeal’s launch mean it is still open and raising money for the hospital.

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