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Call for more research into childhood illness
A children's charity is calling for more funding into paediatric research in the south east.
Sparks, a medical research charity with a branch in Hove, has launched a national awareness “bump” campaign to highlight the need for funding for serious conditions that affect babies, children and mums-to-be.
Helen Farquharson, regional fundraiser for Sparks, said: “Every parent’s hope is for a healthy child and much more can be done to help them realise that hope.
“Too many children are dying in early childhood and many face a lifetime of health problems.
“If we don’t increase our investment in paediatric research now, we are guaranteeing that thousands of children will continue to experience lifelong complications, with adult healthcare costs remaining a massive burden for future generations.”
Heidi Crawford’s son Forrest, now three, of Brighton, was born suffering from birth asphyxia – a condition which restricts oxygen to babies during or just after birth.
Around one in 1,000 babies in the UK suffer a lack of oxygen during labour and delivery which is severe enough to injure their brains.
In the past, 70 per cent have either died or survived with cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. Worldwide, birth asphyxia accounts for 23 per cent of newborn deaths.
Mrs Crawford, 36, said: “When Forrest was born he was given a 50/50 chance of survival. If he did survive there was a 1 in 8 chance of not having brain damage. Sparks funded the research into the cooling treatment which is now used at the Trevor Mann baby unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital. It saved his life.”
The treatment induces hypothermia within the first six hours of life by lowering the baby’s core body temperature to 33.5 degrees for 72 hours, before gradually warming the baby in intensive care.
Mrs Crawford added: “New techniques are coming out and Sparks are supporting that. One is where they use a xenon gas as part of the cooling process and another where they use a cooling cap. Forrest is great now – I’m thankful to Sparks and of course the Trevor Mann Baby Unit.”
For more information or to get involved with the campaign, visit http://www.sparks.org.uk/bump