West Lancashire parents Mr and Mrs Duran-Smith are fundraising for the purchase of ‘cuddle cots’ at Southport Hospital and other NHS trusts.

In January, Laura was rushed into Southport Hospital for what became lifesaving surgery resulting in the loss of the majority of her small bowel and leaving her with a stoma and TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) line. She has since undergone pioneering stoma reversal surgery at Salford Royal hospital.

Sadly, as Laura was seven months pregnant with their baby girl Bella at the time of the surgery, Bella was stillborn.

The grieving parents have gone on to develop a foundation in her name called The Bella Butterfly Foundation.

The Foundation aims to raise money for the purchase of a cuddle cot to be donated to hospitals and be available to use by grieving parents in the future. Already they have hit their target to purchase a cot for Southport Hospital, and are continuing to raise funds for Salford Royal, where Laura continues to be supported throughout her recovery.

Their aim once donating the cot to Southport is to raise money for Salford and to also attempt to fundraise for cuddle cots for hospitals in other trusts. Having experienced such a tragic loss Laura and James believe that every hospital should have such a vital piece of equipment to allow bereaved parents the precious gift of time with their baby.

A cuddle cot is a cooling mattress that stop the baby’s body deteriorating, and can be placed in a cot or even a pram. It allows parents to stay with them for days or even weeks before their funeral, hugging them, dressing them and taking them out for walks.

The cuddle cot has been internationally recognised as significantly helping parents who suffer the loss of a baby. Dealing with the death of a baby is clearly an incredibly difficult event for parents and bereaved parents should be given the option of spending time with their baby.

Fundraising is ongoing with Mr Duran-Smith having run a marathon and raffle evenings held, with over £2,000 already raised.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“What was an absolutely devastating event for Mr and Mrs Duran-Smith, the resilience they have shown and the thought to want to help other grieving parents in the name of their daughter Bella is amazing.

“The cuddle cot has been extremely helpful to many parents who have suffered the heart-breaking loss of a child both before and shortly after birth.

“The Duran-Smiths are continuing their fundraising efforts and I hope the community can get behind them and help with securing the money needed to buy this piece of equipment for hospitals.”

Mum, Laura Duran-Smith said:
“I really believe that every hospital should have a cuddle cot to help bereaved parents at such a traumatic time…it is crucial!

“We want to be able to help people experiencing the loss of a baby in any way we can, all in the name of our beautiful baby Isabella.

“We’d also like to say a big thank you from us as a family for all of the incredible support so far from all of the Westhead community and local businesses in Ormskirk and the surrounding areas.”

The fundraising pages can be found at http://gofundme.com/the-bella-butterfly-foundation

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