by HAZEL HAMMOND
AN Armagh family have raised over £2,000 for the neonatal unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital who helped save the life of one of their twin boys.
Little Kian Mitchell who is looking forward to celebrating his fifth birthday, was one of identical twins born at 25 weeks, each weighing just 620 grams.
Sadly, Kian’s brother Jake developed complications and passed away 13 hours after his birth from a brain haemorrhage.
While Kian is now a happy and healthy P1 pupil at St Patrick’s Primary School in Armagh, he had a long and difficult journey to get to where he is today.
His family, including proud mum Natasha Mitchell is forever indebted to the medical staff who helped save the life of one of her precious boys, who were born in December 2013.
“I was pregnant with identical twins and at 24 weeks, the doctors realised I had twin-to-twin transfusion, which is when one twin takes all the nutrients from the other one,” Natasha, who lives on the Newry Road, told the Ulster Gazette.
“I had to go to Birmingham for laser surgery on my placenta - this can affect lots of things and can have a sad outcome, but thankfully both boys were fine.
“Unfortunately, a week later I went into labour and Jake and Kian were born at 25 weeks, both weighing 620 grams (1lb 5oz).
“After just 13 hours, Jake developed a brain haemorrhage and we had to say goodbye to our angel.
“Kian was then moved to the Royal a day later and I ended up with Septicemia in intensive care, but thankfully we came through it all.
“Kian was in neonatal intensive care (NIICU) for 18 weeks; he had a hole in his heart, respiratory distress syndrome, a bleed in the brain, sepsis, retinopathy of prematurity and worst of all NEC (necrotising enterocolitis) which almost took him from us.
“The staff in NICU and the surgeons at Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children were there every day.
“They waited until he was able enough for surgery and eventually operated on his bowel when he was just three months old and only 3lb in weight.
“They removed 20cm of bad bowel and took out two temporary stomas which were then reversed when Kian was eight months old.
“Now almost five years later, he has no lasting medical conditions and he is just an amazing wee boy,” Natasha said.
In order to express their gratitude and to give something back, the family decided to undertake a fundraiser for the Royal Belfast NICU.
Kian’s grandparents Anne and David Grimley participated in a Lap of the Lough charity cycle on Sunday, August 26 and were accompanied by their friends Margaret Donnelly and Letty and Kayla McCann.
“We will be putting all the fundraising money together and delivering the cheque to the neonatal unit in the Royal within the next couple of weeks,” Natasha said.
“The work that all the doctors and nurses there do is nothing short of amazing and without them we wouldn’t have our wee fighter with us today!” she added.