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Mum's concert raises thousands for neonatal unit

A mum who lost her newborn baby daughter and whose son was born prematurely has helped to raise nearly £3,000 for the neonatal unit where both were cared for.

Sharlene Wright, 38, from Wolverhampton, held a community fundraiser at Bethel All Saints Apostolic Church in Parkfields.

The event featured poetry, gospel music and speakers and was attended by councillor Dr Michael Hardacre and Ms Lynn Plant, the Mayor and Mayoress of Wolverhampton.

Ms Wright said she wanted to raise awareness of the work done at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Wolverhampton's New Cross Hospital.

The 38-year-old gave birth to her daughter Anaya via emergency Caesarean on her due date of 4 February 2022.

Anaya, who weighed 7lbs 7oz, was taken to the unit with breathing difficulties but died a day later in her arms.

"My pregnancy was absolutely perfect with no issues, I was labouring for quite a while so the doctor said I needed to have a c-section," Ms Wright explained.

"I walked down to theatre, I was in no pain.

"I could tell straight away that there was a problem, she didn't gasp for air and got taken to the side and my husband and I were waiting in anticipation.

"It's difficult, that's my baby girl."

She commended nurses and her bereavement midwive for their support through the tragedy and for allowing her family and pastor in to pray with her.

"It was a blur, a shock. Everything was fine then our world came crashing down," she said.

A year later, on 3 February 2023, Ms Wright found herself back in the NICU following the birth of her second son, Lucas, who weighed 2lbs 7oz when he was born 12 weeks early.

"I woke up thinking, 'oh my gosh I'm here again, same place but a different story'," she said.

“We had the same consultant and lots of staff remembered us from our previous experience, so they were very understanding and supportive.

“If Lucas had been born 23 minutes later, he would have shared the same birthday as Anaya."

Her son was fed through a tube before he was later weaned off oxygen and discharged.

"We got to experience the NICU in a different way," Ms Wright added.

Amanda Winwood, from the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust which received the donation, said: “We are so grateful to Sharlene and her church family for wanting to give back and support other families going through the same experience and help to make a difference.”

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