Author Archives: Rachel Hardwick


“From caring comes courage”

International Nurses Day is marked every 12th May (the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth) and is a celebration of the dedicated men and women who dedicate their lives to taking care of others. This year we want to take the opportunity to shine a light on the heroes of the Neonatal Unit, the incredible nurses who go above and beyond to support neonatal babies and their families. We know that the nurses you meet during your stay on the unit play an enormous part in your story, so join us in saying thank you for everything that they do, today and every day. 

The theme of International Nurses Day 2024 is ‘Our Nurses, Our Future and the Economic Power of Care’ and this year, organisations around the world are joining together to reshape misconceptions and demonstrate how investment in nurses and the profession can bring benefits to the economy, as well as society as a whole. 

Arriving on the Neonatal Unit can be an overwhelming and confusing experience, but knowing that there is a team of nurses dedicated to taking care of your new arrival, and you, can be a lifeline to parents trying to navigate the journey. To celebrate the incredible work that the nurses on Ward 35 deliver, we thought we would share what our parents have shared about the nurses they met during their time on the unit. 

“The nurses were so kind and helpful, reassuring me, it amazed me that they took such an interest in our little family & that we could trust them to look after and care for our absolute world when we weren’t around. One thing’s for sure, the support we felt, the love and the tears shed from some of the nurses on the day of discharge, made us feel so cared for and that we’d be truly missed.” 

– Theo’s Mam, Nicola 

“My wife could not travel after having an emergency C-section so I travelled 54 miles to the RVI leaving my wife in hospital with family in our hometown. It was a lot to take in… The nurses were brilliant with me; a deer in the headlights! They talked me through everything without overwhelming me with too much. Seeing my son lying there with all the machines, wires, and tubes helping him push through was a harsh beginning as a first-time father and threw me back a bit. As a father, I felt the need to protect my son but I was totally helpless! We had to put our trust in the nurses and the volunteers, who throughout our time on ward 35, would reassure me and my wife. I honestly think without them there I would have struggled massively with trying to process what was happening and I’m forever grateful.”

– Tommy’s Dad, Adam. 

“Meeting the surgeon all I can remember was looking at his hands and thinking how can hands that big perform surgery on my tiny little baby? I can remember his lips moving but I wasn’t taking in anything he said. I was reassured by the nurses during the whole four hours Harper was in surgery. The nurses walked me around the ward and talked through everything I needed to know. I can’t thank Ward 35 enough and all the staff that work there because if it wasn’t for every single one of them, Harper wouldn’t have survived. Everyone that works on Ward 35 is an Angel in disguise.” 

– Harper’s Mam Chelsey 

“The only thing that made this time remotely manageable was the support of the doctors and nurses who took care of Freddie in his last few days. Lindsay was Freddie’s nurse and she supported us and our family through the final moments, finding the right words to say in a time when nothing felt right. She was there with us when Freddie died and spent the rest of the day bathing, dressing, and taking care of him and us. That compassion and genuine kindness is something we will never forget.”

– Freddie’s Mam, Fran 

“On the Neonatal unit, the nurses were so kind in such a daunting situation, I could touch Oliver’s hand through the window of the incubator and then they got him out for me to hold all the while offering reassurance that he was comfortable.” 

– Oliver’s Mam, Louise 

“I was scared and overwhelmed but the nurses were so supportive and gave me his bay number so I could call anytime even though I was only in the next ward. Throughout George’s stay in Ward 35, the staff was unbelievable. They supported and encouraged our wishes to do skin-to-skin and even reassured my husband when he was nervous. I went through so many emotions during George’s stay and I never felt like I was bothering the nurses or doctors by calling for updates, asking questions, turning up at silly hours during the day, or asking what I needed to do for his care. Nothing was ever too much for them and they made our time there a lot easier.’

George’s mam 

At Tiny Lives, we’re not only there for the families who spend time on the unit, but we also offer support to the neonatal unit staff so they can continue to deliver their incredible work. Nurses and other staff on the unit can apply for funding for a variety of things, including specialist training courses, travel and accommodation to get to those courses, specific materials that might help their specialism or department (like craft materials or books), or aid with support groups. 

Join us in saying a huge thank you this International Nurses Day to all of the nurses working on Ward 35 and those dedicating their skills to supporting neonatal babies and their families around the world.  


On your marks, get set…GO! Could you take on a 5K this May for the neonatal families that Tiny Lives supports throughout the year?

Our annual 5k May event is back for 2024, raising vital funds to support families who have spent time on Ward 35. We’re asking supporters to strap on their running shoes and run, walk, or skip 5k over the month, it doesn’t matter how you get there, just that you have fun while you’re doing it! After you’ve completed your challenge, all you have to do is donate £5 to Tiny Lives and nominate five people to take on the challenge too (bonus points if you share your run on social media and tag us, make sure to use the hashtag #5KMay!).

Rachel Hardwick, Fundraising & Engagement Manager here at Tiny Lives, said: “We would love individuals and businesses across the North East to get involved and spread the message about the work that we’re doing to support babies and families, it’s the perfect team building challenge now the weather is getting nicer. Why not head out on your lunch break, meet up for a post-work jog, or get remote colleagues together for some net-walking, all in the name of a good cause.”

How to get involved in 5K May 2024?

It’s easy to get involved, you have between the 1st – 31st of May to:

– Run, walk, or skip your 5K

– Donate £5 to Tiny Lives

-Nominate 5 friends or co-workers to take on the 5K challenge (privately or via social media)

– Post your #5KMay selfie on social media and spread the word of your amazing fundraising!

Do I have to run all 5km at once?

Absolutely not. Split up your 5km in whichever way is best for you, but if you want to do it all in one go, that’s totally fine too!

How do I donate?

You can donate your £5 by clicking here

If you would like to collect donations from friends and family for your challenge, the easiest way is to set up a Just Giving page and share your challenge story on social media. Make sure to tag us in any posts about your challenge so we can cheer you along!

By supporting Tiny Lives during 5k May, you will help us to continue to ensure that neonatal families receive the best care and attention during their time in Ward 35.

Any support means the world to us. Did you know…

–         £5 could fund a Keepsake or Memory Box

–         £10 could fund a Parent Pack

–         £15 could fund a set of Miniboo Bonding Aids

–         £30 could fund a Claire’s Nest

Good luck! We’ll be cheering you on across the month.


Winn Group, the leading North East-based provider of accident management services, has chosen Tiny Lives to be its charity of the year 2024/25 after a full staff vote!

The team at Winn Group will be taking on challenges throughout the year to raise much-needed funds to support our community of neonatal babies and their families at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, including becoming the entertainment sponsor at the Tiny Lives charity ball in October and entering a team in the infamously challenging Tough Mudder event this summer.

Ross Jackson, Winn Group CSR Team Member said, “It’s great to announce our chosen charity for the current financial year. Tiny Lives does incredible work in the toughest of times for families dealing with a difficult start to life for a little one.

“We’re kicking off our fundraising for the cause by taking on the entertainment sponsorship for their charity ball later in the year, as well as entering a team in the Tough Mudder event this summer. Credit to our colleagues taking part – I certainly wouldn’t fancy some of those obstacles, never mind the 10-mile run in between!

“This is the first of several events across the year that we will be delivering to our staff as they fundraise for this worthy cause.”

Rachel Hardwick, Fundraising & Engagement Manager here at Tiny Lives, said: “We are over the moon to have been selected as Charity of the Year by Winn Group, and humbled to hear that this came from their team voting for us. We’re looking forward to working in partnership with their fantastic team to support the neonatal babies and families from Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.” 

Winn Group Finance Director and CSR Lead Marta Fernandez Varona continued,

“We are pleased to see staff making their choice of charity that the company is going to support throughout the next financial year. Complementing our CSR criteria of supporting the next generation of the North East, Tiny Lives does an incredible job supporting seriously ill newborns and their families during the toughest of times.

“This latest charity selection reinforces the company’s desire to give back to a region that we’re proud to represent on a national scale.”

Last financial year, Winn Group fundraised and/or donated more than £100,000 to charitable causes and is looking to top that in 2024.

We support over 750 vulnerable babies and their families every year and by nominating Tiny Lives as Charity of the Year, your organisation will allow us to continue supporting the best possible outcomes for babies and their families throughout their neonatal journey.  When you choose Tiny Lives as your Charity of the Year, we’ll work with you to maximise publicity for the business through our website, social media channels, and local press so we can spread the word about your amazing achievements. You can download our Corporate Fundraising Pack to learn more, and fill out the Get in Touch form and our Fundraising & Engagement Manager Rachel will be in touch to discuss a bespoke partnership plan that will suit your needs.