Thanks to the fundraising efforts of a
Christchurch couple, families now have access to beautifully refurbished rooms
at Christchurch Women’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where
they can find comfort when they visit their babies.
The lives of Jenny and Rob Payne were touched
by tragedy when their son, Leo, died in 2009 of multiple complications in
Christchurch Women’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) aged three
Jenny says Leo was born eight weeks
premature, delivered by caesarean section and taken straight to NICU, where he
was put on life support.
“He was lovingly and constantly cared
for by the neonatal unit staff during that time,” Jenny says.
However, after three days Jenny and
Rob made the heartbreaking decision to turn off life support.
“The first time we were able to hold
him close was when he was dying in our arms,” Jenny says.
After Leo’s death a strong desire grew to honour his memory and
celebrate his short life.
The couple decided to hold a charity ball and
auction, raising $17,000, to refurbish the parent and waiting rooms at the unit.
At a special ceremony last week Christchurch Hospital Chaplain
Hilary Barlow blessed the rooms and Jenny thanked Leo for “coming to stay for a
little while, you changed our lives forever”.
Jenny says it meant a lot to her and Rob to have the rooms
“We spent a large amount of time there and felt families needed
a more comforting place where they could come together to regroup and try to
gain strength at a heartbreaking time,” Jenny says.
She and interior designer, Desiree Sage, worked
with Canterbury District Health Board Interior Designer for Site Redevelopment,
Marcy Craigie, who designed an extensive refurbishment.
Marcy says the rooms are now almost
unrecognisable compared to what they were.
“Parents have told me they are a haven of peace
and comfort, which is all we hoped to achieve,” Marcy says.
“Thanks to Jenny and Rob’s heartfelt wishes and
vision to commemorate the brief life of baby Leo, we have been able to provide
wonderful recreational facilities to stressed parents requiring the phenomenal
care and support of our Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit at CWH.”
The refurbishment included new paint, carpet,
curtains, toys, play equipment, artwork, dining tables and chairs, as well as
comfy squabs, cushions and family sized sofas. Many suppliers volunteered their
time or services to the project, especially Anthony Campbell from Harvey Norman
and Juljia Stanicich from Premium Flooring, who both arranged for major
contributions from their respective companies.
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