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Saying thanks to two Sussex charities that helped friends
Two friends who experienced the help of the NHS and charities first hand have launched a fundraising campaign to say thank you.
Sarah Willoughby and Lanie Coleman are holding their first event on Saturday and are planning many more.
Mrs Willoughby’s son Frankie, three, became seriously ill last summer after developing chickenpox.
The illness led to another, more serious infection, which left the youngster fighting for his life at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London.
Medics thought he might have contracted the flesh-eating bug necrotising fasciitis but tests later ruled this out.
Mrs Willoughby, 31, a marketing manager from Juniper Walk, Shoreham, is married to David, 34.
She said: “It was a frightening and distressing time but we simply cannot fault the care and treatment that Frankie received.
“The doctors nowthink Frankie had a severe form of cellulitis which may have been triggered by the chickenpox.
“They were absolutely brilliant and Frankie is now running around like nothing ever happened.
“I just wanted to give something back and after talking with Lanie, we decided to go for it.”
Mrs Coleman, 35, and her husband Jody, 34, had been trying for a baby for years and she finally became pregnant last year.
All went well until February when Mrs Coleman suddenly became seriously ill at 34-and-ahalf weeks.
Doctors at Worthing Hospital discovered she had developed HELLP Syndrome, a serious and life-threatening condition linked to pre-eclampsia.
Although medics were eventually able to save her, they could not prevent the couple’s daughter Emi from being stillborn.
Mrs Coleman said: “I was very unwell for a long time and obviously there was so much for us to come to terms with.
“This was when we learned of the support given by the local branch of SANDS (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society).
“We were presented with a little memory box which contained photos of Emi and other little things like handprints and footprints, a lock of hair and a teddy bear.
“It is the most precious thing we have.
“The charity also offered us counselling and a befriending service which gave us a chance to talk over the phone and meet with other people who had been through the same experience.
“It helped us so much and now I want to do what I can to help.”
The fundraiser is an open garden and celebration at Downsmere in Poynings Road, Poynings, from 11am to 4pm.
It will feature stalls and activities including a bouncy castle, falconry display, barbecue, raffle, a silent auction and Zumba dancing.
Money raised will go to the Evelina Children’s Hospital and Brighton and Hove SANDS.
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