Bid to bring refrigerated cuddle cot to Sheffield so grieving parents can spend longer with their dead babies
The grieving relatives of a tragic tot are campaigning for a specialist cot to be installed at Sheffield Children's Hospital so heartbroken parents can spend more time with their children after their untimely deaths.
Little Gia-Marnie Smeath died at the hospital aged just 18 weeks old from the effects of swine flu and other health problems in March 2016 after she was born premature.
Relatives told how they got a small window of a couple of hours to 'say goodbye' before Gia-Marnie's body had to be taken away to the mortuary.
They have now launched a fundraising campaign to buy a 'cuddle cot' for the hospital - a special piece of equipment that acts like a refrigerated bassinet and keeps the babies' bodies at the correct temperature allowing them to stay in the room with their parents for longer.
Gia-Marnie's family said they wanted to give other grieving families 'the gift of time' through the campaign so they can say a 'proper goodbye'.
Her auntie Hayley Davies, aged 27, of Oldham in Greater Manchester, said: "A couple of hours isn't enough time to say goodbye for grieving relatives. I had to travel quite a way and by the time I got there I had to see her in the mortuary, which isn't the best place for this.
"The timeframe varies, but a cuddle cot does give you more hours in the hospital with them. I am sure there are hundreds, if not thousands of families, who would benefit from this."
The family has launched an online fundraising page for the specialist cot, which has so far raised just over £1000 towards a target of £1600.
Sheffield has got behind the fundraising push and a number of businesses have donated raffle prizes for charity nights. Sheffield United also gave free tickets to watch a match.
In a message on the fundraising page, Gia-Marnie's mum Danielle Ingham, aged 31, of Grimsby, said: "We could only spend around one-and-a-half-hours with her before she had to be taken away.
"If they had a cuddle cot we would have been able to say goodbye properly and tell her all the things we wanted to say to her.
"Our family are asking for any donations no matter how small or large if you can afford to donate. It will help so many other families to say goodbye to their little angels and give them a little more time to do this."
A spokesperson for Sheffield Children's Hospital said: "When a baby passes away it is an emotional and difficult time for the parents and there is only a small window of time for them to create memories.
"Cuddle cots allow them to spend precious extra time with their baby.
"We are very appreciative of the kindness and generosity of Gia-Marnie Smeath’s family and their thought for other families who sadly find themselves in the same situation."
To support the campaign visit https://www.gofundme.com/c3qw3g-sheffield-hospital-cuddle-cot