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At the end of 2010, Shaune and Kimberley Watts’ world changed when they found out their baby, who was at 23 weeks’ gestation, may have stopped growing.
Following six weeks on bed rest in hospital, while Shaune and their two young children spent their school holidays back and forth visiting the hospital, Kimberley gave birth to Noah by emergency caesarean section—he weighed little more than one kilogram.
What followed was a 10 week journey in Mater’s Neonatal Critical Care Unit (NCCU)—an experience that would be life changing for Shaune, Kimberley, and Noah’s older siblings Ella and Jack.
“It was a daily battle for quite a long period of time; it was so touch and go,” Shaune remembers.
“To see him that first time, not just how small he was, but to see him covered in the machines that were keeping him alive, it was so scary."
Shaune and Kimberley stood by Noah’s humidicrib day in and day out, whispering words of love and support to their tiny son.
“When I’m looking back through photos or videos of our time there, we remember what our family had to endure both from the logistics of managing work and family—but also the wonderful work that the staff in NCCU do.”
It was this experience that inspired the Watts family to start fundraising for Mater Little Miracles—and to date, they’ve raised more than $400,000 to help seriously ill and premature babies like Noah get the best possible start to life.
“Since our very first event, 100 per cent of these funds have gone directly to purchasing vital equipment for the NCCU, to support the 2000 families that go through there each year,” says Shaune.
The Watts family hold two major events each year—a golf day and a high tea—and through these events have shared their story and the work of Mater Little Miracles with 550 people each year, including an array of sporting personalities who have attended throughout the years—from Allan Border to Paul Vautin to Bronte Campbell.
Noah is now in grade three, and like any eight-year-old he loves sports, including cricket and soccer. He is happy, healthy and in Shaune’s words, “goes all day and night until he hits his bed.”
Shaune is proud to be able to generate support to the incredible team that helped their family through one of their darkest times, and always remembers the impact it’s had on their lives.
“Being in Mater’s NCCU is an amazing experience with such supportive staff on call all the time, but not one you would wish on any new parents.” says Shaune.
“It’s extremely difficult to have a new baby but know that you can’t take them home with you.”
If you’re interested in creating your own fundraiser to help our tiniest patients grow up into happy and healthy children like Noah, please visit the Mater Little Miracles website, or get in touch with the team on 07 3163 8000 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.