A COUPLE who were supported by a neonatal charity during the toughest times of their lives are taking on their first ever running challenge to give back.
Andy Kay and his partner Hayley, from Horndean, had two babies that were born three months premature, just under two years apart.
By tackling the 10-mile Simplyhealth Great South Run they want to support Bliss, the charity that helped their family recover after Annabel, eight, and Isla, six, were both born by emergency caesarean at just over 1lb.
Andy, 38, said: ‘With our wedding coming up, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to raise money for a good cause and to improve our lifestyles ahead of an important day.
‘When Hayley was pregnant with Annabel, she had a feeling something wasn’t quite right so we visited the hospital. Little did we know that Annabel would be born that day.
‘I didn’t know it was possible for a baby so small to survive – Annabel was tiny – and was placed in an incubator and whisked away from us.’
Because of a problem with the blood flow from Hayley’s placenta, Annabel was born at just 28 weeks, weighing a little more than a bag of sugar. She spent three months in hospital and pulled through thanks to the care and attention of medics.
Andy added: ‘At first, being surrounded by huge, beeping machines was unfamiliar to us and we were constantly on alert. Gradually, we became used to it due to the help Bliss gave us.
‘Eighteen months later Hayley fell pregnant again. Like Annabel, Isla was born at 28 weeks and although we were more prepared that time round, it was still a testing time. She was placed in critical care.
‘Both of the girls are now doing well and it was when Hayley and I decided to get married, that we thought about doing a physical challenge to give something back to Bliss. They supported us through both of our daughter’s births and recoveries and provided helpful advice. It meant a lot to know during a tough time people who understood the situation were there for you.’
The 10-mile event is on Sunday, October 22. Andy and Hayley hope to raise a considerable amount of money for Bliss.
Entries for the Great South Run are open.
Enter at: Greatrun.org/South.