Parents of North Devon triplets - thank NHS ten million times over!

North Devon Gazette

Proud North Devon parents Graham and Hannah Bell want to say a big thankyou to the hospital staff who brought their triplets safely into the world - ten million times over.

That's how many steps the mum and dad plan to take between now and the triplets' 5th birthday on November 30 - at the same time raising money to support premature babies and charity.

Florence, Benjamin and William were born at just 31 weeks and spent their first Christmas and New Year being cared for by the Neonatal Unit at the RD&EÂ Hospital at Wonford, followed by the Special Care Baby Unity at North Devon District Hospital.

They want to thank the 'incredible' staff who supported the family throughout the triplet’s birth as well as charity Bliss who support premature babies and their families.

The couple both work at North Devon District Hospital; Hannah in the hospitals theatre recovery room caring for patients after their surgery as they recover from their anaesthetic, whilst Graham is a nurse on the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

The coronavirus pandemic has been a difficult time for the family, with Graham isolating away from the family for 12 weeks during the first lockdown. As Hannah and the triplets were deemed high risk of serious complications if they were to catch coronavirus, Graham stayed at a hotel and visited his family from their driveway to protect them from infection.Â

Now all back together they’re looking forward to completing their mammoth challenge of 500,000 steps apiece in support of charities close to their hearts.

They said: “We both hope to get a lot fitter, walking an average of 13,700 steps every day and we really would love to raise as much money as we can for the people who started three very tiny babies on a journey towards becoming the strapping toddlers that they are today. Everything we raise will be split three-ways between NNU at RD&E, SCBU at NDDH and Bliss. Thank you so much for being part of this journey.”

Nicole Murray, Community and Events Programme Lead for Bliss, said: "We are so grateful to Hannah and Graham for taking on this challenge in support of vulnerable babies. One in every seven babies in the UK is admitted to neonatal care in the UK, but so often parents feel alone in their journey and the experience can have a lasting impact on the whole family. Bliss is committed to making sure these babies get the best neonatal care, with their loved ones by their side.

"Our life changing work would simply not be possible without the dedication and support of our fundraisers like Hannah and Graham. Thank you to everyone supporting this challenge and contributing to helping babies born premature or sick have the best start in life."Â

Ian Roome, Head of Charity Fundraising for both Over and Above and the RD&E Charity, said: “It’s with thanks to people like Hannah and Graham that we are able to support vital services throughout Devon like our Neonatal Unit and Special Care Baby Unit. Both charities exist to go over and above what the NHS is able to provide to make a real difference to our patients, their families and the incredible staff that treat them.

"Its brilliant to see and hear how healthy and energetic Florence, Benjamin and William are and it’s a privilege to support two hospitals that continue to make a real difference to local patients. From everyone at the two NHS Trusts, good luck!”Â

For more details or to sponsor Hannah and Graham then please go to www.gofund.me/7d2e82c1. You can also stay up to date with their challenge on their Facebook page 5millionby5th.

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