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Saving lives, supporting families

Why Lucy truly is a miracle mum

19th October 2017

We all know mums of multiples are miracle workers – it’s a given.

But add into the mix not one, but TWO marathons and you have someone verging on superhuman.

Lucy Neville-Davies is an inspiration to us all – she took part in both the London and Brighton marathons this year (2017) and raised more than £1,200 for Tamba. Did we mention she was also running round after two four-year-olds as well?

She has decided to share her story in the hopes of inspiring other busy bees to take on a challenge.  If you’ve been awarded a marathon place for 2018, we hope Lucy will encourage you to think of Tamba when setting up your donation page.

Lucy’s Story

Training for a marathon is tough. Really tough. But Lucy Neville-Davis knew it was a small task compared to the battle her twins faced when they were born.

Jasper struggled to breathe and Finlay suffered a severe bleed on the brain, but amazingly they both survived, and thrived, after being born at 27 weeks.

It was their determination to fight for survival that spurred Lucy on when she was training for both the London and Brighton marathons – which were just a fortnight apart.

“The training was really hard,” said Lucy. “It’s not just the fact it’s a long distance, but a lot of my running time meant I was away from my family for long periods. Often all I’d want to do is see the boys and play with them but instead I’d have to spend several hours out running.

“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my partner Cameron and our family. They’re wonderful.”

Lucy took part in the Brighton Marathon on 9th April 2017 and the London Marathon on 23rd April this year. Both her runs were for Tamba. Lucy decided to fundraise for our charity because of the traumatic way in which Finlay and Jasper entered the world.

 “We know we’re incredibly lucky to have them here and doing so well,” said Lucy, who lives in West Sussex.

“At one time we thought Jasper would never breathe on his own and Finlay wouldn’t ever be able to walk after his bleed on the brain, but now both of them are doing little one-mile runs with my running club.

“Every day we know how incredibly lucky we are and we’re so grateful we have two healthy boys at home.”

Lucy and her partner Cameron Robertson became pregnant with twins on their first round of IVF. Lucy’s pregnancy was a healthy one with no major concerns until her boys decided to arrive early.

Lucy said: “No one knows why they came early – they just did. I was in hospital already as I felt a bit unwell and they thought it might be a urinary infection. I knew something was happening, but as these are my first children I had no idea what labour felt like or what should be happening. But then the following morning at 7am they arrived.

“I was obviously aware 27 weeks was really early, but all I really focused on was what needed to be done to make sure they were healthy.

“They were both struggling when they were born but I knew I couldn’t help them in a medical sort of way. So I completely immersed myself in pumping milk, reading to them and doing whatever I could from my end to make sure they were safe.”

Finlay arrived first weighing just 2lb 7oz and Jasper followed afterwards weighing 2lb.  They were born on 17th August 2012 and would spend the next three months in hospital.

The twins were delivered in Chichester but as they needed specialist care, they were rushed straight to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth. Finlay was taken away in the ambulance first, with Lucy just being able to poke her finger through the incubator before he was whisked away.

“I put my finger through and he grabbed it tightly,” said Lucy. “I didn’t see him again until later in the day when I arrived at Portsmouth. Jasper had to wait for the ambulance to come back and then he went too. They were both having help to breathe and had all wires and lines coming out of them – it was scary to see how tiny and fragile they were with all these things on them.”

Although both babies did remarkably well, considering how early they were born, they did still suffer from problems. Jasper struggled to breathe on his own for a very long time and even when the boys were discharged three months after their birth on 19th November 2012 (two days after their due date) he still needed an oxygen tube through his nose.

Finlay had a severe bleed on the brain and doctors were worried it would have a traumatic effect on his mental and physical capabilities. He now has a mild form of cerebral palsy, but Lucy says it’s hardly noticeable in his everyday life.

“Throughout it all we just kept realising how lucky we were,” said Lucy. “They kept having these horrible things happen to them, but they just kept on battling and doing really well.

“It was ages until I could hold them and then after two and a half weeks I finally got to hold them together. I was so emotional cuddling them both – they were still so tiny so I was aware of how careful I had to be but it was amazing.”

Now happy and healthy, Finlay is the quieter of the two and loves playing with sand and getting his hands dirty. Jasper loves vehicles and, as Lucy observes, “moves at 100mph – he can’t sit still”.

Seeing how well they’ve done after such a traumatic entrance into the world is what spurred Lucy on while she is training.

Tamba CEO Keith Reed said: “About 50% of our families have one or more babies who will need specialist care in a neonatal unit. And twins are six times more likely to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

“This is why we exist – to campaign for great care for our families and also fund research into issues affecting multiple birth pregnancies.

“Without people like Lucy, who go that extra mile, or in this case the extra 52.4 miles, we simply wouldn’t exist.

“We’re incredibly proud Lucy chose us as her charitable cause.”

If running isn’t your thing you can still fundraise for Tamba! We’ve heard from people who have jumped out of planes and climbed mountains. Or if you prefer a less arduous adventure, why not hold a bake sale? Or organise a Welly Waddle with your multiples club?
If you’re stuck for ideas, or want to let us know about your event, email luciewigley@tamba.org.uk 

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