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Cuddle cot donation gives parents the gift of time

18 November 2017

A couple from Wigan who want to help other families through child loss have donated a special gift to their local neonatal unit.

Mark Keenan and Lisa Laforte’s son Thomas Elliot Keenan was delivered stillborn on 27th November 2015, and to commemorate what would have been Thomas’ second birthday, the Atherton couple donated a CuddleCot to the neonatal unit at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary.

The CuddleCot – a cot which cools the baby and therefore prolongs the amount of time parents can spend with their stillborn infant - provides parents precious time to spend bonding with their baby.

Since February, Mark and Lisa, along with their family, have raised an amazing £5,200 with the support of Angel Wings Baby and Child Loss Support which has enabled them to donate three cuddle cots in memory of Thomas, one of them being to the Trust’s Neonatal Unit. 

The family arranged a number of fundraising activities, including Mark walking the length of the 127 mile Leeds-Liverpool canal on his own in just six and a half days.

 Mark said: “If we can help at least one family through their loss then it is all worthwhile.

“We genuinely wish that no other family had to experience the loss of a child at any stage”. 

Mark and Lisa, who have four other children between them, have now both decided to use their experience to pursue careers in nursing and will continue to raise funds to buy more CuddleCots for other neonatal units.

Julie Armstrong, Neonatal Unit Manager said: “The neonatal team is very grateful for the kind donation of the Cuddle Cot from Mark and Lisa.

“The donation will enable us to keep our little ones, that sadly pass away far too early, to remain longer with their parents to create everlasting memories.

It is so inspiring that Mark and Lisa were able to channel their grief into something that will be of great help to other parents in this devastating situation.”