Archive: May 2018

Aspiring Neonatal Nurse raises over £500 for Tiny Lives

Atlanta and Conor Charity Bike Ride (web edit)

Atlanta Austin, from Sunderland, recently completed an 18-mile cycle challenge with her partner Conor, raising an amazing total of over £500 for the Tiny Lives Trust.

They cycled from Seaburn, Sunderland to the Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth and the majority of the way back to reach their 18-mile goal and have been overwhelmed with support from their friends and family, having more than doubled their original fundraising goal!

Atlanta is currently studying and hopes to become a Neonatal Nurse in the future, saying:

“My aim in life is to become a Neonatal Nurse, therefore I feel very passionate about donating to this specific charity. I hope that by raising money and awareness, my contribution goes towards supporting premature and ill newborns and their families.”

We want to take this chance to say a massive thank you to Atlanta and Conor and wish her the best of luck with her studies – we’re sure she’ll be an amazing nurse.

Neonatal Mum Emma takes on 100-mile running challenge

Neve Kelly, daughter of Emma Kelly (email permissions given for web story and social)Neve and Emma Kelly at Sunderland 10K May 2018 - permission given for web story and social

Our supporter Emma Kelly is taking on the demanding challenge of running 100 miles throughout 2018, all within a seven-month time frame. In order to complete this challenge, Emma will be taking part in races and events across the region, including the iconic Great North Run in September.

Emma has decided to undertake this challenge and raise funds for Tiny Lives in respect of care received by her daughter Neve, who spent time on the Unit in November 2016. Neve was born at just over 29 weeks, weighing a tiny 2lbs 14oz. She is aiming to complete her runs and hit the the 100-mile mark on the weekend of Neve’s 2nd birthday.

Having successfully completed the Sunderland 10K, Emma now has her sights set on the following races:

  • May: The Sunderland Pier to Pier (approx. 7 miles)
  • June: The Lambton 10km Run (6.2 miles); The Angel View Run (5.5 miles)
  • July: The Bottoms Up Cup (approx. 3 miles); The Hexham Half Marathon (13.1 miles)
  • August: The South Shields 10-mile race
  • September: The Great North Run (13.1 miles); The Great Scottish Run (13.1 miles)
  • November: The Northumberland Big 10-miler

There are more races and events still to be confirmed, so make sure to keep an eye on Emma’s fundraising page for updates. And of course, you can also donate to Emma via her page too.

Emma said: “The care that Neve received was brilliant and we were looked after too. From showing us how to care for her, making those precious early cuddles possible, breastfeeding support, giving us books to read about what to expect over the coming months and years and even just to chat and answer questions. I’m hoping to raise money for Tiny Lives to support the amazing work and research that they do, and to help them continue to support other premature or poorly babies and their families.”


Fundraiser Gary to take on 18 Tough Mudders in 2018

Tiny Lives IceDip

Not content with taking on just one Tough Mudder challenge, Gary Cranston has pledged to complete an amazing 18 full courses throughout 2018 – all to raise money for Tiny Lives.

Gary, from Gateshead, started his muddy challenge at the end of April and will be finishing up at the end of September. Tough Mudder courses are notoriously exhausting, with clinging mud and dirt, tricky obstacles to navigate and the distance to compete with as well.

He’ll be covering 10-12 miles on each course, contending with freezing pits of ice, climbing steep and slippery walls and squelching through over 500,000 litres of fresh mud!

Gary has chosen to raise money for Tiny Lives as a thanks for the care received by his friend’s son Kyle, who spent time on the Neonatal Unit in 2016.

Tiny Lives relies on the generosity of supporters and fundraisers, so we’d like to say a huge thank you to Gary for his commitment to this incredible challenge.

You can find out more about the challenge and donate on Gary’s fundraising page.

4FinishKiss Of Mud 2

A few words from Kyle’s parents –

From a parents point of view having a premature baby was the most traumatic and terrifying experience of our lives, but the amazing help and support from the dedicated teams at Newcastle’s RVI and Tiny Lives helped get us through it. Kyle was born 17 weeks early at only 23+6 weeks, weighing a tiny 650g (1lb 7oz). He spent the first 15 weeks of his life in the Special Care Baby Unit where we as parents witnessed the invaluable help and support that Tiny Lives provide to the unit. Not only do they provide support to the babies and families but also provide essential lifesaving equipment and staff.

Kyle (1)


Kind supporter Cheryl donates Blessing Bags to SCBU parents

hand over of blessing bags Chloe and Josh (smaller)

After her daughter Chloe spent time on the Special Care Baby Unit almost 13 years ago, Cheryl Hutchinson decided to fundraise for Tiny Lives as a way of saying thank you.

Since then she has organised several fundraising events in aid of Tiny Lives, with the most recent being a charity football match. It was a huge success, despite the rainy British weather forcing her to relocate the games at the last minute!

Cheryl had the creative idea of using the funds raised from these events to create ‘Blessing Bags’ for parents currently on the Unit, packing each bag by hand with lots of tasty treats, books and useful bits and pieces such as tissues, lip balm and a foldable toothbrush and toothpaste. This thoughtful gesture means a lot to parents on the ward – who often drop everything to be at their baby’s side at a moments notice – and will help to make time spent on the Neonatal Unit a little more comfortable for them.

Cheryl and her two children, Chloe and Josh, recently visited the Unit to hand over their Blessing Bags to grateful staff.

We’d like to thank Cheryl for her kindness and for taking the time to put together such lovely items, as well as Chloe, Josh and Cheryl’s friends and family for helping out with the fundraising and Blessing Bags.

photo 3 (smaller)

Dad to host all day charity golf event to raise funds for Tiny Lives

Elliot Thompson (permission for web story and social given)

Nathan Thompson is dad to Elliot, who spent time on Ward 35 following his early birth in March 2018. This experience on the Special Care Baby Unit inspired him to organise a charity golf day with friends, in order to raise money for Tiny Lives.

‘Elliot’s 4 Round Golf Challenge’ will be taking place on 21 June 2018, where Nathan and his fellow teammates will be golfing from 5.00am until the sun sets. That’s around 16 hours of golf!

Whilst on the Unit, Elliot and his family benefited from Tiny Lives-provided services, such as treatment from the resident physiotherapist and a free parking permit, so Nathan was keen to give something back. He said:

“We cannot thank the Nurses and Doctors enough at the Special Care Unit for what they have done for Elliot. This is myself and Nicola’s way of saying THANK YOU to these wonderful nurses and all the Tiny Lives services and their amazing staff.”

Despite only having set up his fundraising page two days ago, Nathan has already raised an astounding £1650.00! If you’d like to support Nathan, you can donate to his fundraising page here.

We want to take this opportunity to thank Nathan and his friends for their amazing fundraising and wish him the best of luck with his challenge!

Get involved in the SCBU Dads’ Team

Dad's Team logo







Matt Cray, part of the Northern Neonatal Transport Service at the RVI, has recently established a dads group within the hospital, in order to offer unique support to dads who have a child on the unit.

It is acknowledged that a dad may have a completely different emotional experience to a mum when their child has to spend time on the Neonatal Unit. The dads group helps to cater for this in a friendly, informal environment.

The team is made up of dads who have experienced life on the unit, who will be chatting to and offering support to dads that are currently on SCBU with their child. The date of the next meeting is:

Sunday 23rd February 2020

As usual, sessions will take place in the Fetal Medicine Seminar Room next to Ward 35, 6.30pm – 7.30pm. For more information please contact Matt at

If you are a dad that would like to share your story about your time on the unit, please contact Matt or send an email to


Supporting Dad’s in NICU unit poster