Kelly and Grace's story

Kelly And Grace Fleming�S Story Hero

Bliss were chosen as A.A. Thornton & Co's charity of the year following a nomination from Ted Fleming, whose daughter-in-law gave birth prematurely in 2013.

Ted Fleming’s granddaughter, Grace Hope, was born on 29 November 2013, three months before her due date. After seeing his tiny granddaughter fight in intensive care Ted nominated Bliss, the leading national charity for babies born premature or sick, to be A.A. Thornton & Co.’s Charity of the Year for 2016.

Here, Ted’s daughter-in-law and Grace’s mum Kelly tells her story:

I gave birth to Grace Vera Hope on 29 November 2013, weighing just 2lb 7oz. As soon as she was born she was rushed off to intensive care and it was over two hours before I was allowed to see her again. She was on a ventilator for seven hours before being given a treatment to keep her airways open, and our first cuddle wasn’t until she was two days old.

After one week, the doctors felt that Grace was ready to be moved to a different neonatal unit, as she no longer needed such intensive care. But then, at eleven days old, Grace had a respiratory infection and had to have a blood transfusion on my birthday. This was a huge setback in her recovery, but she eventually began to improve again and gradually started to gain weight. Grace was finally able to leave the hospital and come home at 10 weeks old.

Grace is now a healthy, happy toddler at two and a half years old and we feel very lucky to have her. We gave Grace the middle name Hope on the day she was born, because as a family hope was the only constant emotion we had. The whole experience from start to finish was a complete rollercoaster - not knowing what each day was going to bring. We are extremely grateful to the doctors and nurses who took such great care of Grace and provided us with such a great deal of support throughout.

We are especially thankful to Bliss for the online support they provided at this emotional time in our lives. We were provided with leaflets at the hospital and directed to their online messageboard which gave us support from other families who were going through similar situations. It often felt lonely and overwhelming sitting by Grace’s bedside, and at night when it was time to leave it was heart breaking. The online forum provided us with the support and advice we needed to get through some very tough times.

Ted Fleming adds: “I am absolutely delighted that A.A. Thornton & Co. is supporting Bliss in 2016 and I can’t wait to take part in the fundraising events we have planned. This is an excellent charity and I am delighted that the firm will be helping them continue the great work they do”.