Parents pay tribute to brave baby
A BRAVE baby who died just days after her first birthday will be remembered for her constant smile, her heartbroken parents have said.Keira-Leigh Drake lost her fight for life on Monday , after she was born 26 weeks and six days premature, and weighed just over 11 ounces.
A BRAVE baby who died just days after her first birthday will be remembered for her constant smile, her heartbroken parents have said.
Keira-Leigh Drake lost her fight for life on Monday , after she was born 26 weeks and six days premature, and weighed just over 11 ounces.
After overcoming her premature birth, which caused her to suffer from a chronic lung disease, Keira-Leigh began fighting back until in December last year she contracted bronchiolitis.
It was this illness that her parents, Wayne and Susanne, of Compass Close
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Lakenheath, believe finally killed their third child.
Mrs Drake said: "She had been doing really well up to December. She was growing and developing but she got it at the wrong time.
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"I think her illness, bronchiolitis did more damage than the doctors realised. It certainly didn't help as it stopped her lungs growing and her oxygen requirements went up.
Mr Drake added: "She had a fighting chance before she was diagnosed with bronchiolitis, but this caused a reversal of her growth."
Doctors only rated her chances at 50/50, but after a 17-week ordeal in West Suffolk Hospital, the youngster was allowed home in September but had to have regular oxygen at home.
Mr Drake said: "She proved them all wrong. She was born a fighter and she fought right through to the end. She had tremendous courage."
Keira-Leigh leaves behind two sisters, Anna, 15, and Chrissie, 13.
Earlier this month, the family spoke with consultants at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where they were told Keira-Leigh was too fragile for more tests and that she may not survive the anaesthetic.
After spending so much time, including her first birthday on May 10, in West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, the grieving parents praised staff there.
Mr Drake said: "Everyone at the hospital was excellent and we can't fault them in any way with their treatment of Keira or us.
"We spent so much time they became like a second family and a lot of staff were heartbroken when she died. We have also had so much support from our friends and family in what has been a very hard year."
Mr Drake said: "Her smile is what everyone remembers – she was always happy. Despite all she had been through and put up with, she was always smiling.
"We received one sympathy card which just said about her smile and that is how we want her to be remembered."
Mrs Drake said: "She only learnt how to cry in the last couple of months."
The family have asked for no flowers to be sent to Keira-Leigh's funeral on Friday , but any donations instead should be sent to West Suffolk Hospital's Rainbow Ward.
Bronchiolitis, involves a viral inflammation of the lower airway and leads to difficulty breathing in and out. Premature babies are very susceptible.