Mum whose baby twin daughter died from rare lung disease is backing children’s ‘home from homes’ charity

Holding hands: Twins Alice and Grace Wooley. Baby Alice died when she was just weeks old.

Holding hands: Twins Alice and Grace Wooley. Baby Alice died when she was just weeks old.

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A mum whose baby daughter died at just three-and-a-half-weeks-old has pledged to support the charity that enabled her family to bond with her daughter during her tragically short life.

Jo Woolley, of Bedford, gave birth to twin girls who were born seriously ill last year. As one twin, Grace, recovered, the other, Alice, deteriorated dramatically.

Grace Woolley.

Grace Woolley.

Initially, Alice was treated for a serious infection but a few days later her lung collapsed.

Tiny Alice was one in a million babies born with an extremely rare lung disease - Surfactant deficiency - which meant her lungs hadn’t developed properly, resulting in a lack of oxygen.

The Sick Children’s Trust supported the family during this devastating time, giving not only mum Jo and dad Tom, of Welbeck Gardens, a place to stay, but also Alice’s twin Grace a ‘home from home’ in their Chestnut House located at The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge.

Jo said: “This house was so important as it gave us a quiet space away from the unit to gather ourselves, whilst remaining very close to our girls.

“When Grace was discharged, she was able to stay with us too, so now we have some very positive memories of Grace’s first weeks of life, as well as the most treasured memories of Alice and Grace together in the incubator.

“The accommodation and the help of the charity made life a lot easier for us in so many ways during an extremely difficult time. But most importantly it meant that we were able to have so much more precious time with our beautiful little Alice and for that we will be forever grateful.”

The Woolley family have joined The Sick Children’s Trust in an attempt to raise £100,000 to help continue to run the charity’s ten ‘home from homes’ across the country through their Big Chocolate Tea Party campaign.

It costs on average £28 for the charity to provide a family with a room for one night.

The Sick Children’s Trust believe keeping families together significantly improves the recovery of seriously ill children and is therefore asking supporters to throw a Big Chocolate Tea Party to provide a family with a room for one night.

Jo said: “Without The Sick Children’s Trust’s ‘Home from Home’ I don’t think we would have been able to spend anywhere near this amount of time together as a family. Being able to stay at the hospital meant that we were only a minute away from our girls at all times.

“If you can help support them to support other families, please do.”

To find out more, email chocolate@sickchildrenstrust.org