Camilla's story

Ben Withinshaw took part in the Man vs Lakes challenge earlier this year, raising an impressive £7,200 for the Trevor Mann Baby Unit (TMBU) in Brighton, where his daughter Camilla was cared for after she was born. In his own words, here is her story…

“On Saturday 23 January 2016, my pregnant wife Gemma was taken ill whilst we were visiting her uncle who lived near Reigate, for supper. She was taken by ambulance to East Surrey Hospital where it became apparent she had experienced a bowel adhesion, having had prior surgery for bowel cancer back in 2011. The only way to resolve this was to operate, which meant our daughter Camilla was born at just 32 weeks.

“Within 24 hours, our new-born daughter Camilla was diagnosed with a distended bowel (no connection with Gemma's prior bowel issues), and she was taken in a neonatal ambulance down to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton. 24 hours later, Camilla underwent surgery to have a temporary stoma fitted, all the while Gemma was still in intensive care back up in East Surrey hospital and was recovering from her own surgery. 

“I spent the next week travelling between Brighton and East Surrey. Gemma was discharged from hospital 10 days after Camilla was born and we were in Brighton and at the TMBU to be at Camilla's cot within two hours of leaving. The baby unit was where we spent the next six weeks, with Camilla going from nursery one, through to nursery two, and eventually nursery three. The only real complication was the set back of Camilla not absorbing enough milk (which had to be expressed all throughout Gemma's recovery) and the stoma discharge was too much.

“After six weeks of care on the TMBU, we were allowed to take our little girl Camilla home until she had grown enough to have her stoma reversal operation. This was completed on 22 April 2016 and on the 28 April, we were allowed home with our gorgeous little girl – with hopefully her last operation complete. Since then, we have been back for check-ups, and we most recently visited to present a cheque to the TMBU, and their charity partner, Rockinghorse.

“Without the incredible care and attention provided by the wonderful doctors and nurses within the TMBU, we wouldn't have our gorgeous daughter with us now. We are so grateful to everyone at the TMBU and that is our reason for wanting to support them in any way possible.”

Camilla is now 21 months old and is a happy healthy little girl. Thank you to Ben and Gemma for sharing their story.

If you would like to share your story with us, we’d love to hear from you. Call us on 01273 330044, or email cheryl.piper@rockinghorse.org.uk

1967
We’ve been supporting sick children for 50 years
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45,000
Young patients are treated at the Alex every year
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600
Babies are treated at the TMBU every year
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250
Babies are treated at SCBU every year
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