Mum launches fundraising campaign for ‘rainbow baby’ Brian
- Credit: ROB ALLEN
A mum whose own life and that of her baby son were at risk during labour is fundraising for vital equipment to improve his mobility.
Donna Allen, from Haverhill, is still struggling mentally from the complications of Brian's early birth, which saw her lose 4.6 litres of blood - more than half the volume in her body.
Brian, now aged three, was born at 28 weeks with bleeds on his brain and spent the first seven weeks of his life on neonatal intensive care units.
Donna, who is married to Rob, calls him their "rainbow baby" as he came following the loss of their baby girl, Lucy, at 23 weeks in 2008.
Just after Brian turned one he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which affects movement and coordination, but more recently the family have learned his condition is more severe than first thought. He cannot stand unaided, or walk, and needs ongoing physiotherapy.
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Donna, 40, has now launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for various pieces of equipment, such as a special walking frame, that are not available through the NHS but could help strengthen Brian's muscles and improve his quality of life.
Donna, who is mum to four boys, said: "He wants to be independent. He's a little explorer and he's starting to climb and get things.
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"We did discuss with his paediatrician about an operation known as SDR, which cuts the nerves that cause the tightness, but they will not consider that at the moment as Brian doesn't understand what the whole procedure is about."
She said it had been a roller coaster for the family following the trauma of the birth and diagnosis, which has also deeply affected husband Rob.
Donna, who suffers with balance issues and is profoundly deaf, added: "I have had a lot of mental problems myself over the years and have had counselling and I do CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).
"It's a long process and it does work - it might not work for everybody, but I find it works for me. I try to find one positive and hold onto that positive - he's here and we are here. It's not easy, it's a very bumpy road, but it's so rewarding.
"When you see him reach his little milestones it's amazing."
The family have set a fundraising target of £1,500. To support them see here.