Avan’s Story

“My son Avan was born on the 22nd January 2017, weighing in at 1lb 4oz (580g). His journey into this world actually started on Christmas Eve 2016, the night that my partner, Amy’s, waters broke – out of the blue. The initial shock was terrifying and the unknown was equally daunting. She was only 19 weeks pregnant. From this moment, we had several meetings and scans per week with consultants at the RVI Hospital in Newcastle. Aftergoing through every possible scenario and asking what felt like a thousand questions, then asking them again to try and make sense of what was happening, we found ourselves in the middle of January. Starting to feel confident that the baby had decided to hang around for now. As each day went by, the chances of him surviving would theoretically increase.

21st January 2017 – Our daughters 3rd birthday. Note – try not to have children in January, it’s too close to Christmas and will cost you an absolute fortune. With that aside, we threw our daughter’s birthday party the next day and had great time, in fact it was unforgettable considering Amy started to have pains that we thought were Braxton Hicks. After the party we went up to hospital as a precaution, where we were told that Amy had entered the early stages of labour and there was no stopping the boy now!! Back to our thousand questions and the unknown. 23:46hrs, he was born – the tiniest human I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Being born at this stage in pregnancy, babies are generally given a 50-50 chance of survival, the RVI stats are slightly better as we were told. Then came the news that he was fine and transported to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU). Amazing, emotional, relieved, lost for words –now two birthdays in January – a day apart and just after Christmas. When one turns 18, the other turns 21 – great!! And, I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Since the drama of Christmas, New Year and Birthdays I would like to say that life slowed down for us, but no, in actual fact it ramped up, we had only embarked the rollercoaster and had no idea when we’d get off.

Avan’s first two weeks were worrying, but when we look back they were quite nice. He was in a humidified Incubator, having his breathing done for him by a ventilator and slowly started some food. The third week, things took a turn for the worse when he caught an infection called Nectorizing Enterocolitis (NEC). This infection attacks the bowels of premature babies. We spent days through to weeks not knowing if the goodnight kiss we gave him that night, was his last. He underwent several operations to battle this infection. NEC has brought with it several other issues in which Avan contracted Sepsis, he also requires his nutrition to be delivered by IV instead of normal milk. Hopefully his final operation, which was on the 25th April 2017 will mean that he can start to feed normally again once he has recovered. Laser eye treatment was his next adventure, which can be common in premature babies. This is done to tackle Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) – basically to prevent blindness.

Amongst all the chaos, Avan has come through everything thrown at him so far and the word ‘proud’ doesn’t quite cut it. As I write this, he is 14 weeks and 6 days old, almost 38 weeks corrected
and not technically due until the 19th may 2017. He is now 6lb 10ozs and looks like he could take on the world.”


Tiny Lives would like to say a huge thank you to all of Avan’s family and friends who are supporting Tiny Lives in honour of Avan and his journey.

Team Avan at the Great North Run 2017

Phil MullenTom PurcellJak Wells and Gemma Stevenson.


The ABS Newcastle Tyne Boat Race Team 2017

Phil Mullen, Claire Leader, Gavin Leader, Ian Harnwell, Steven Harnwell, Daniel McGrath, Tom Purcell, Jak Wells, Andrew Dearsley, Mark Winskill who raised £605



Jak Wells who is running, riding, climbing and rowing through 2017
26th March – Durham City Duathlon (5km run, 25km ride, 5km)
13th May – 45 mile bike ride
27th May – Climbing Ben Nevis
10th June – 65 mile bike ride
17th June – Rowing the Tyne
(Swing Bridge to the mouth)
9th July – Great North 10k
29th July – Yorkshire 3 peaks
12th August – Gateshead Trail 10k
10th September – Great North Run
7th October – Kielder Duathlon




Uncle Tom who is building up to his first marathon
The Great North Run (September 10th)
The Kielder Half Marathon (October 8th)
The Morpeth 2 Newcastle Marathon (October 29th)