FIGHT FOR LIFE: Ollie, now 2, with mum Amanda Stevens. Ollie was born prematurely at just 31 weeks.
FIGHT FOR LIFE: Ollie, now 2, with mum Amanda Stevens. Ollie was born prematurely at just 31 weeks.

Mum’s marathon effort to save premmie babies

WHEN baby Ollie came into the world at just 31 weeks gestation it was a “nerve-racking” and emotional time for Noosa mother Amanda Stevens.

Weighing just 1500 grams, Ollie relied on neonatal equipment to stay alive.

Baby Ollie was delivered via emergency caesarean at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, an experience Ms Stevens will never forget.

With World Prematurity Baby Day recently celebrated on November 17, Ms Stevens is now on a mission to raise awareness for the cause locally.

“Having a baby prematurely can be a roller coaster of hope and heartbreak.”

“Unless you are in that situation you don’t really understand that world,” she said.

“It’s very nerve-racking, things can turn so quickly.”

FIGHT FOR LIFE: Baby Ollie Stevens was born prematurely at 31 weeks.
FIGHT FOR LIFE: Baby Ollie Stevens was born prematurely at 31 weeks.

After Ollie’s birth, Ms Stevens spent five weeks at RBWH and a further four weeks at Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

“Anything under 32 weeks can’t be looked after in a regional hospital.”

Through her experience, Ms Stevens learnt of the charity Running for Premature Babies, set up by a Sydney couple who lost their premature triplet sons in 2006.

In it’s first year the charity run raised $80,000 for neonatal intensive care unit equipment and since then has raised more than $3 million.

With 26,000 babies born prematurely in Australia every year, Ms Steven said fundraising for neonatal equipment was vital.

“Technology is playing such a role, compared with just five years ago it’s just incredible,” Ms Stevens said.

“Less and less babies are having long term (health) impacts.”

FIGHT FOR LIFE: Ollie, now 2, with mum Amanda Stevens. Ollie was born prematurely at just 31 weeks.
FIGHT FOR LIFE: Ollie, now 2, with mum Amanda Stevens. Ollie was born prematurely at just 31 weeks.

With the charity set to expand into Queensland Ms Stevens has been announced as Running for Premature Babies’ Queensland Ambassador.

“While hospitals receive government funding, they rely heavily on external funding.”

“100 per cent of the money goes straight into equipment, they really do make a difference.”

As part of her work, Ms Stevens plans to begin a running group in Noosa.

The charity will also participate in the Sunshine Coast Marathon next August.

Locals interested in donating or being part of the run group can look out for details at www.runningforprematurebabies.com.


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