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Ipswich Hospital buys premature baby simulator with £10,500 donation from Woodbridge mother after ultramarathon

PUBLISHED: 21:45 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 21:55 04 September 2017

Inge with husband Liam van Tuinen, children Xander (five) and Emma (seven) and neonatal unit ward sister Sheila Gauld and the sim baby. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

Inge with husband Liam van Tuinen, children Xander (five) and Emma (seven) and neonatal unit ward sister Sheila Gauld and the sim baby. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

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Doctors and nurses at Ipswich Hospital can now gain hands-on experience of treating premature babies thanks to an intrepid mother who has completed the world famous Marathon des Sables.

Baby Emma, who was born 12 weeks prematurely. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITALBaby Emma, who was born 12 weeks prematurely. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

Inge Van Tuinen–Nijkamp raised £10,539 for the hospital’s Sunrise Appeal by completing the epic 153-mile challenge in April, which saw her run in extreme heat through the Sahara Desert over six days while carrying her own clothes, stove, food and supplies in a backpack.

The money has been spent on a “sim baby” – a lifelike simulator of a baby born at 27 weeks which is controlled remotely using computer software and is used to train staff to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions.

Inge took on the race to thank staff for caring for her daughter Emma, now seven, who was born 12 weeks prematurely following a pregnancy complication.

The tot spent time on the neonatal intensive care unit at Ipswich Hospital.

Inge with husband Liam van Tuinen, children Xander (five) and Emma (seven) and neonatal unit ward sister Sheila Gauld. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITALInge with husband Liam van Tuinen, children Xander (five) and Emma (seven) and neonatal unit ward sister Sheila Gauld. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

“The ward is so special for my family and the staff were absolutely amazing and did a fantastic job with our daughter’s care,” said Inge, who is 35 and lives in Woodbridge. “Emma weighed just 1.13lbs and didn’t even measure 30cms when she was born. But after three months, she had flourished and grown and we were able to take her home.

“It was at that point that I decided I wanted to give something back, then someone mentioned the Marathon des Sables. It seemed like the ultimate challenge and chance to go on a personal journey, as well as an ideal opportunity to support the hospital.

“I’m so proud that the money I raised has been used to buy the simulator. It is exactly the same size as Emma was when she was born, and will be really helpful for training nurses and doctors as well as building confidence in parents.

“My husband Liam also feels proud and happy to have been able to support this challenge, and it touched his heart to see the premature baby simulator on the ward. We both feel privileged to be able to help.”

Inge Van Tuinen–Nijkamp with her daughter, Emma. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITALInge Van Tuinen–Nijkamp with her daughter, Emma. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

The Sunrise Appeal was launched in December 2014 and has since raised around £150,000 to improve care for sick babies and children treated at Ipswich.

Sheila Gauld, neonatal unit ward sister, said: “We are very grateful to Inge for taking on this amazing challenge to raise money for our ward. The sim baby will make a real difference by helping to train our doctors and nurses to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions so that they can provide the safest, most effective care for our young patients.”

To support Inge’s cause, see here.

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