Laura and Dave Lask’s daughter Olivia was born at term and well on Tuesday 26 June 2012, but at six days old she was re-admitted to hospital due to dramatic weight loss, becoming very unwell very suddenly.
Olivia had a problem, but at that stage it wasn’t clear what it was. Initially the doctors thought it may have been a problem with the way her heart had formed, but then after Olivia was transferred to another Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), it became clear that her heart had formed normally, but was not working.
Olivia’s heart stopped while she was being transferred, and needed the ambulance team to get it working again. It was clear that she could not survive without the help of a heart and lung support machine and so she was immediately placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine; an artificial lung outside the body, that puts oxygen into the blood and pumps it round the body.
The intensive care team then learnt that Olivia had a virus, called Enterovirus, which had caused her heart muscle to become extremely damaged and stop working. The hope was that Olivia could buy some time on the life support machine to allow her heart to recover. Unfortunately this was not to be, and it became clear that her heart muscle had become so damaged that it could not recover.
With great sadness, Olivia was taken off life support in Laura’s arms, and peacefully went to heaven aged two weeks.
In honour of Olivia, Laura and Dave decided to run the London Marathon and open a Bliss Precious Star Fund in her memory, in the hope that the money raised would help save another baby from losing its life. They have now raised over £17,000, which will go towards helping Bliss support the 78,000 babies born premature and sick in the UK every year, and ensure that more babies survive and have the best quality of life.
Find out more about Precious Star Funds