A YOUNG “miracle” child who has battled for life has inspired the launch of a new support group in South Tyneside.
Edith McLeod was born at just 27 weeks, suffering from serious medical problems, including heart, lung and kidney issues.
Her mum, Sharon McLeod, 36, who endured a difficult pregnancy, was even offered a termination, so serious were her unborn baby’s problems.
Little Edith, who is underweight and small for her age, has spent much of her young life in the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU), at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).
But the daughter she and husband, Alan, 35, call their “little miracle,” has just celebrated her first birthday, and is doing well.
Now Mrs McLeod, of Campbell Park Road, Hebburn, is launching a Buddy Group for parents and children who have faced similar medical battles.
She said: “Edith has gone through so much, and it’s been a rollercoaster of a ride – it was always two steps forward and one step back.
“Edith has had chronic lung disease, undergone heart surgery and had three hernias. I was told there were problems with the placenta, but I refused a termination.”
Mrs McLeod, who has two other children, Isla, three, and 16-year-old Amy, added: “In August 2013, my husband and I welcomed into the world our little miracle, Edith.
“After a complicated pregnancy, she was born at 27 weeks.
“Edith had growth restrictions throughout the pregnancy. I had been told she was about four weeks behind in size, and when she was born, she weighed 1lb 2oz.
“Edith had many ups and downs during her journey through special care, but after 22 weeks on the unit we were eventually allowed to bring her home in January 2014.
“We have just celebrated Edith’s first birthday, and she is doing so well – she has overcome so much in her little life and we are very proud indeed.”
Mrs McLeod was very impressed with the “fantastic” Buddy Group at the RVI, and has decided to launch her own, at St John’s Church, in Canning Street, Hebburn, starting next Monday.
She added: “We all know how it feels to watch our children fight for their lives. They fight so hard, and they don’t even know what they are fighting for.
“At the moment, we have our Buddy Group at the RVI and I believe the next one is as far away as Darlington, so I thought that we could benefit from a group in South Tyneside too.
“As from Monday, we will now hold a Buddy Group at St John’s Church hall in Hebburn.
“This group will run every Monday, from 1pm to 3pm.
“It would be good to see some of our mums and dads and little ones for a catch-up and a cuppa.”
Anyone interested in getting involved in the new Buddy Group in Hebburn should call Mrs McLeod on 0795 114 2957.
The new group is part of the Tiny Lives charity. Visit www.tinylives.org.uk for more details.