Young mum whose baby died finds strength to help others

Christy Smith (s)

Christy Smith (s)

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A young mother whose first child died unexpectedly has found the inner strength to help stop other families suffering.

Christy Smith has raised a magnificent £5,000 to purchase much-needed life-saving medical equipment for the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital.

Christy Smith and mum Avril Pilling join nurses from Royal Blackburn Teaching  Hospitals Childrens Ward to hand over five sleep apnoea machines (s)

Christy Smith and mum Avril Pilling join nurses from Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospitals Childrens Ward to hand over five sleep apnoea machines (s)

In April, the 21-year-old former Blessed Trinity RC College pupil woke to find her previously healthy seven-week-old son Shay had stopped breathing and, despite her efforts, Shay could not be resuscitated.

“No parent should have to wake up and find their child not breathing,” said Christy.

“Sudden Infant Death Syndrome brings tragedy to around 300 families a year. There is no reason, no explanation, no cure. If Shay had had a sleep apnoea monitor, it would have prevented his death.”

Christy, supported by “big” sister Ashleigh and mum Avril Pilling, started a crowd-funding campaign to keep Shay’s memory alive by saving the lives of other babies.

And this week, Christy and her mum visited the Childrens’ Ward to donate five sleep apnoea monitors which are now saving lives by alerting nurses and doctors when a baby’s breathing pattern changes.

Sadly, no monitor was available when Shay stopped breathing, just seven weeks after the gorgeous “water baby” was born at the Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre at Burnley General Teaching Hospital.

“I will never be able to bring my beautiful baby boy back, but I’m doing everything I can to raise as much awareness and money as possible to keep Shay’s memory alive in a positive way.”

With the support of family and friends, in the last six months Christy has raised an incredible £5,000, including a crib presented to Champs Funerals in Accrington in addition to the new sleep monitors.

“Because of the sleep apnoea monitors, other parents will be spared the trauma of losing their child,” said Children’s Ward Sister, Lisa Walsh.

“It’s good to know they won’t have to go through what Christy did and their child’s life will be saved thanks to her efforts.”

To keep Shay’s memory alive and help support other parents who suffer the tragedy of losing their child so young, Christy has set up a Facebook page, “Shay’s Angels”.