A MOTHER from Cirencester is jumping from a plane flying thousands of feet up in the air to raise £1,000 for a charity that helped her cope during her baby daughter’s illness.
Siobhan Walker, 20, gave birth to Arabella in November 2013. Both Siobhan and her partner Rob had found out early in the pregnancy that their baby was suffering from gastroschisis, where part or all of a baby’s bowel and intestines do not develop inside the foetus.
When Arabella was born, she was born with her bowel, intestines and even part of her stomach outside of her body.
“I’d always said I felt prepared but as soon as Arabella was born I realised I was far from it,” said Siobhan.
“It was a traumatic thing to see and I could barely even touch her when she was born as she was hooked up to so many wires. I really struggled.”
Arabella’s condition affects about one in 3,000 babies.
While Arabella was receiving treatment in St Michael’s Hospital in Bristol, Siobhan and her partner stayed in accommodation just across the road, provided by Cots for Tots.
Cots for Tots supports the work of the special care baby unit at the Bristol hospital where Arabella stayed.
The charity fundraises to provide medical equipment for the hospital and provide the Cots for Tots House, a “home from home” for families of babies staying on the unit.
“The best thing was being so close to the hospital,” Siobhan continued.
“We were literally just across the road so if there was ever a problem, we didn’t have to do any travelling.
“I stayed there the whole time Arabella was in hospital.”
Siobhan is trying to raise £1,000 to thank Cots for Tots for getting her through the painful few days spent with Arabella at the hospital.
“I’m doing a skydive on August 3 which I haven’t done before, but I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie so I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “Everyone else thinks I’m mad, though.”
Both mother and daughter are back in Cirencester and Arabella now only bears a small slice near her belly button which never sealed after the treatment.
“She isn’t in any pain anymore,” said Siobhan. “She’s just a typical three-month-old baby with a cheeky smile.”
To contribute, visit justgiving.com/Arabella211 to donate to Cots for Tots and support Siobhan’s fundraiser.