Two-year-old Reuben, who needed critical care in the first weeks of his life, will walk for children like him in this weekend's Sponsored Walk alongside his Mum, Julie, and Dad, Neil.
When Reuben was born, he went through a hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) event. This occurs when a baby's brain does not receive enough oxygen or blood flow around the time of birth.
As he was admitted to neonatal intensive care (NICU), Julie and Neil had to navigate the following days without even being able to hold little Reuben - but Glasgow Children's Hospital Charity was with the family every step of their journey.
Julie explained: “In NICU, Reuben started having seizures and so the team started cooling treatment, where his body temperature was lowered for 72 hours to minimise any damage to his brain. During this time, Neil and I were unable to hold him and were limited in the care we could give him.
“During the cooling he had no further seizures and we were able to have our first cuddles. Day by day, he continued to make improvements and he slowly became wireless, first with IV medication stopping, then his oxygen support and finally his feeding tube. We were able to go home as a family just in time to celebrate his three-week birthday!
“He had his two-year assessment at the start of August and, as there are no concerns with his development, he has been officially discharged.”
Particularly in the early days, the young family benefited from a number of projects funded by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.
MiniBoo comforters, the vCreate video portal service and memory-making activity Little Inky Feet all helped Julie and Neil stay close to Reuben, even when physical contact was limited due to his delicate condition.
All of them really helped us feel more connected to Reuben while he was in the neonatal unit, particularly in the early days where we were unable to hold him.
Reuben's Mum, Julie
“Things like the Little Inky Feet and milestone cards really helped to bring a bit of normality and celebration.”
It means so much to Julie and Neil that Reuben will now do the Sponsored Walk this Saturday, September 16, after his discharge.
The trio took part in last year’s Walk, but Julie expects her wee boy will be picking up the pace this time.
“We were keen to take part in the walk as a way of giving back to the wonderful staff and care we have been given at both the Princess Royal Maternity Neonatal Unit and Glasgow Children’s Hospital. When we took part in the walk last year Reuben was just getting on his feet.
"We are looking forward to him actually walking the route this year — he is so energetic I’m sure he’ll be dragging us along!”