Founders of Little Lennie charity back King's Lynn hospital campaign
A 26-year-old woman was 17 weeks pregnant when her son was diagnosed with a neural birth defect at Lynn’s hospital in June.
Brooke and Aaron Webster-Rice, 30, were originally meant to welcome Lennie into the world on Father’s Day but due to a shortage of rooms, they had to wait until June 22.
The Wisbech couple then felt the “heartbreak and pain” of finding out Lennie had spina bifida, a birth defect which occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly.
Some survive this defect, but unfortunately Lennie did not. In order to cope with the pain, Brooke and Aaron have set up their own non-profitable charity, the Little Lennie Foundation.
In the last week, they have supported two children living in the North Yorkshire town of Thirsk and Southend.
Brooke said: “We did not feel we needed counselling but the biggest thing for us has been setting up the charity which is keeping us going, feeling we can make a positive impact.
“Lennie did not make it but other children out there do make it and we want to help them.”
The couple are also supporting the Lynn News Charity of the Year, which is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s fundraiser to build a dedicated Maternity Bereavement Suite facility, which will support those who lose a child shortly before or after birth.
Brooke said she was not aware the hospital was lacking a bereavement suite at the time of her birth, and has recalled the room being very hot.
As a result of the windows being open, she could hear the sounds of crying babies whilst grieving her own loss.
Regarding the new suite, she said: “It’s a brilliant idea and the maternity staffwere amazing. We could not have asked for any more support from them but being near to other women giving birth was a horrible feeling when you have lost your own.
“It is a lot easier telling someone you are having a baby rather than saying you have lost a baby.
“With the next pregnancy, there will be anxiety as we will not know if we will be excited or if there will be daunting fear.”
The couple are originally from London and Brooke has recently heard about the Whispers from Wings bereavement support group in Lynn which she is joining.
Among those who have already supported the Little Lennie Foundation is boxer Ted Cheeseman, as well as football players Deji Oshilaja of Charlton Athleticand Montel Agyemang of Welling United. American comedian Tim Grill, who has spina bifida, has publicly shared the charity’s website as well.
To donate to Lynn’s hospital fundraiser for a new bereavement suite, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/qehmaternitybereavementsuite .