It should have been a young mum’s happiest moment – the birth of her first baby.
But for Sharna Gardner, the delight of finally being able hold tiny Rhkiya-Mae brought tears of sadness too.
That is because her partner Grant Adams, who had been so excited at the prospect of becoming a father, wasn’t there to share the joy.
The 17-year-old lost his fight for life less than 24 hours after being injured in a freak accident at his home in South Frederick Street, South Shields, in June, when he tripped and fell into a sunbed, causing a glass tube to pierce his neck.
Yesterday, his brave girlfriend gave birth at South Tyneside District Hospital to the couple’s first child, at 9.55am, who weighed 8lbs 3ozs.
His aunt Michelle Kelly said the family were overjoyed by the birth of baby Rhkiya-Mae but it was also an emotional time for them all.
The 33-year-old, who came to Grant’s aid after his accident, said: “Sharna gave birth at 9.55am yesterday, and both mother and baby are doing really well.
“It is such an emotional time for us all as we are all so happy but it’s also sad as Grant isn’t here to see his new baby. It’s just really emotional.”
Friends have taken to social media networking site Facebook following the news of the birth of baby Rhkiya-Mae – the name the couple had chosen before Grant’s death – after Sharna posted a photo of their baby daughter.
Samantha Wright wrote: “Congratulations Sharna Gardner. Grant would be so proud of you and his little princess, hope you are both OK, she’s beautiful xx.”
Kia Kayden Ingram commented: “Spit and pop of Grant. Well done Sharna, welcome to the world Rhkiya-Mae! So beautiful congrats to you both. Grant will most definitely be looking over you watching his princess grow up. Well done Xxx.”
The popular teen, who had been a pupil at Mortimer Comprehensive School and later became an apprentice bricklayer with Carillion, died from serious neck and throat injuries caused by tripping and falling into a sunbed before tumbling down stairs at his home.
The keen boxer’s death left his family devastated, including his devoted girlfriend Sharna who was seven months pregnant at the time.
His family went on to donate Grant’s organs to help others. Money was raised for the Great North Air Ambulance, which had flown Grant to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, and Sharna at his funeral which was held at South Shields Crematorium.
Since his death, Horsley Hill Boxing Club, where Grant had been a member for two years, hosted a fundraising press-ups challenge to raise money for his unborn baby.
The challenge saw boxing clubs throughout the North East take part. People around the world also posted videos of themselves taking part in the challenge.