Walkers step out to raise cash for vital heart ward

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MUMS, dads and children walked for two miles through Southsea to raise money for an infant cardiology unit.

Southsea Sling, a parent and baby co-operative in the city, organised its ‘slingathon’ as part of International Babywearing Week.

STEPPING OUT From left, Amber and Jonah Dyer, Bethany and Ben McShane, Theresa and Noah Davies, Sadie Tiernney and ''Betsy-Jet Layton, Amber and Artemis Paphiti, Becky and Caiden Harris. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132807-6)

STEPPING OUT From left, Amber and Jonah Dyer, Bethany and Ben McShane, Theresa and Noah Davies, Sadie Tiernney and ''Betsy-Jet Layton, Amber and Artemis Paphiti, Becky and Caiden Harris. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132807-6)

Money was being raised for Southampton General Hospital’s Ocean Cardiac Ward, where mum Bethany McShane’s son Ben has had treatment.

‘Wwe have raised almost £700 so far,’ Bethany said.

‘My son has been treated there for a congenital heart defect and there is another little girl here who has been treated.’

Ben, who is four-and-a-half-months old now, had his first treatment in the ward at the age of three months.

‘He will have several more and probably need a valve replacement at some point,’ said Bethany.

‘My sister was treated there too because she had a heart defect and sadly she died there.

‘The walk will raise awareness for the cardiac unit but also the health benefits are for baby wearing.’

The group set off on its two-mile walk around Canoe Lake at around 11.30am after meeting in Pavilion Cafe in Southsea Tennis Club, Clarence Esplanade.

Around 30 parents with babies and children turned up to take part.

Sophy Yildirim, one of the founding directors of Southsea Sling, said similar events have been taking place throughout the week.

‘Across the world, lots of people are celebrating the art of using a sling carrier for their baby and at the same time give them lots of warmth and comfort,’ she said.

Southsea Slings, which Sophy was one of the founders of, was set up as a not-for-profit workers’ co-operative in 2012.

‘It is close to our hearts at Southsea Slings because of the connection with one of our clients, Bethany McShane. Her son was in the sling when he was nil-by-mouth in the ward, so it meant she knew she was doing all she could to comfort him.’

Money has been raised by donations being made online, as well as a raffle, with prizes including a Sony camera and Southsea Sling vouchers.

Members of the group use fabric slings to carry their babies in to have them closer to their mum or dad while they are outside.

To donate to the group’s fundraising effort, visit facebook.com/SouthseaSlings.