Islanders have once again rushed to help a set of 20-month old 'miracle' triplets, who were born at just 24 weeks, as their parents seek to keep the family nurse who has been assisting them for the past 12 months.
So far, more than £1,000 has been raised for a nurse for Willow, Jasper and Primrose Bennett, who were born prematurely in Portsmouth Hospital - but their mum hopes to raise even more to secure them further support at a time when they are still vulnerable.
The miniature trio underwent several emergency surgeries including heart surgery, stomach surgery and laser eye surgery, alongside various other life-saving treatments, whilst in the UK.
Pictured: Willow, Jasper and Primrose Bennett were born at just 24 weeks.
Since their return to Jersey in June 2018, the babies and their parents, Rebecca and Daniel Bennett, have been receiving regular visits from home nurse, Sandy Dowie, of Family Nursing and Home Care (FNHC).
Sandy’s visits were funded thanks to a donation from the Greville Bathe Fund, a fund created from a bequest of the late Greville Inverness Bath to help sick and elderly individuals living in the island.
Pictured: The triplets are now 20 months old.
Unfortunately, as Rebecca explained, the funding is coming to an end at the end of the year and the young mum is worried about losing Sandy at a time where her little ones still require a lot of help.
“Because the babies were born at 24 weeks, they still have a lot of extra additional needs,” she said. “There are 20 months old now but they are a lot further behind than that in their development.
“They are still attending a lot of appointments. We have physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, paediatrics, audiology, eye clinics and we will soon start the dentist as well.”
Pictured: The triplets still have a lot of appointments to attend.
Some of the visits have taken place at home, but others have been in the community, including at Overdale Hospital, which is where Sandy’s help has been invaluable for Rebecca.
The home nurse has also helped with the little trio’s physio exercises as well as their one-on-one swimming lessons.
“She has been an absolutely fantastic emotional support,” Rebecca added. “With three babies, you do end up being quite lonely because it’s more difficult to get out for activities. Having somebody there with whom you have an amazing relationship and that level of trust, it’s been amazing.”
Pictured: Rebecca says Sandy has been an "absolutely fantastic emotional support”.
Concerned about losing Sandy, Rebecca has reduced the three weekly visits to just two, in a bid to stretch out the funds a bit longer. But with each four-hour visit costing £88, the funds will soon be depleted.
With the babies still needing extra support, Rebecca has therefore appealed to the generosity of islanders to continue to benefit from the help of the nurse.
“We are desperately trying to seek funding,” the young mum said.
Pictured: The family wants to keep Sandy a bit longer and is appealing for funding.
“Sandy has been a massive part of my life and the babies'." “We have been very lucky. It’s difficult to accept somebody else to help look after your children, so when there has been days we couldn’t do, I would rather wait for Sandy to be back. It has been solely her for the whole year.
Rebecca hopes that the family will get to keep Sandy around to see the triplets through the next stages of their development.
“No one is walking yet,” she said. “Jasper struggles with his eye sight, so he is wearing very high prescription glasses. He will have a helmet fitted soon because he keeps falling and had a lot of vomiting. It is so good to have somebody else here, to keep a close eye on him. It’s terrifying for a mum!
“Because they were born so early they have so many medical difficulties. We are always on high alert!"
So far, islanders have donated just over £1,000 for the triplets, which represents an additional 11 weeks of Sandy’s visits.
Pictured: Islanders previously raised £5,000 for the family.
It’s the second time the island’s community has rushed to help the miniature trio.
After one of Rebecca and Daniel’s friends started a crowdfunding page to help avoid financial stresses for the couple, islanders donated over £300 within an hour, raising a total of £5,000 later on.
“At the moment we have had some lovely people making donations on the JustGiving page and we are so thankful for the support,” Rebecca said.
“We are not looking for any excessive amount, even enough funding for an extra six months would be fantastic. No matter how small it is fantastic! We cannot thank everybody enough.”
You can donate to the crowdfunding page by clicking here.
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