London Marathon

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On April 23rd a team of eleven runners will run the London Marathon in aid of the Silver Star Unit. Unique to Oxford, the Silver Star Unit, situated in the Women’s Centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital, offers special care to pregnant mothers and their babies who have serious and rare difficulties in pregnancy.

The Unit is made up of a small specialised team of doctors and midwives who provide expert care to an extremely vulnerable group of pregnant women who have conditions such as repeated miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney or heart problems, placental bleeding and other medical complications.

The Unit is supported by the Silver Star Society a group of parents, families, and friends who have benefited from Silver Star Care and want to help to make it even better by raising funds to promote the work of this internationally recognised Unit. The Silver Star Society also supports the Research Team, a skilled group of scientists working to investigate the causes of these complications in pregnancy.

This work would not be possible without the wonderful fundraising achievements of families, friends and their generous sponsors. Here, our London Marathon Team 2017 share their stories:

Anthony Wise:

‘I am running for the Silver Star Unit which we are very lucky to have locally in Oxford. We have friends and family members who were under the care of Silver Star, and know all too well the amazing work they do. Without them some of those children may not be here today.’

 

 

 

 

 

Antony Giddins:

‘I am pleased to represent the Silver Star Society in this year’s London Marathon, and grateful for a place. I am surprised at just how many people are familiar with the charity. Sixteen years ago my sister encountered major problems during pregnancy with twin girls and it was the Silver Star Unit that got her through a very difficult time where she nearly lost one of the twins. I have two great nieces, thanks to your wonderful work’.

 

 

 

Glenn Dearlove:

‘Twenty-six weeks into my wife’s first pregnancy, we were told that the baby had stopped growing and that we were being referred to the Silver Star Unit for monitoring. This was scary news to receive and big shock. Becky, my wife, had to stay in hospital for a further seven weeks hooked up to various machines to track Becky’s health as well as our baby’s progress.

When Izzy was born weighing just 2lb 9oz we had access to one of the Silver Star family rooms, which meant we were able to stay together in the hospital while Becky recovered and we could both be close to Izzy while she was growing in an incubator under the watchful eyes of the amazing nurses in the Special Care Baby Unit. Izzy was discharged four weeks later weighing 3lb 6oz’.

We are now expecting our second child and speaking with Silver Star was an important part of the planning process, knowing that they are involved from start to finish, looking after Becky and baby is massively reassuring.’

Jessica Fleminger:

‘I’m a graduate medical student at Oxford and a tremendously average runner. Despite my very short legs and a grumbly knee, I’m training to run the London Marathon this year for the incredible Silver Star Society. I gave up my job in finance to go back to university and train to be a doctor, and I’m really interested in women’s health issues, especially those around pregnancy. We are so lucky in Oxford to have a wonderful ward dedicated to maternal health, and when I heard they were looking for people to help fundraise for them I jumped at the chance’.

 

 

Simon Turner:

‘In February 2016, my wife Emma was admitted to the Silver Star Unit with pre-eclampsia. Thanks to their very capable hands and amazing staff, we now have a beautiful 8 month old daughter called Molly. We cannot thank them all enough for the help, support and care that every member of the team gave. In a little show of gratitude, as a keen runner I have secured a ballot place in the 2017 London Marathon to fundraise for Silver Star.’

 

 

 

Tracey Cox:

‘On 30th July 2015, my niece Patsy and her partner Ian became the proud parents of beautiful twins named Oakley and Scarlett. Following complications in Patsy’s pregnancy her twins were delivered by emergency caesarean 12.5 weeks earlier than their due date with a combined weight of less than 2.5kg. Patsy was admitted to the JR 2 weeks prior to the twins’ arrival, where she received exceptional care from various members of the Oxford Radcliffe NHS Trust teams. That fantastic level of healthcare and emotional support continued for a further 11 weeks before Oakley and Scarlett were well enough to come home from SCBU. They have both proved to be incredible little fighters and are gaining strength (and character!) every day. The Oxford Radcliffe Hospital Trust and The Silver Star Unit, provide exceptional care to expectant mothers to ensure that so many babies like these two beautiful cherubs have every chance of making into this world. I can’t thank the Trust enough for the support given to Patsy and Ian and running the London Marathon and fundraising for this fantastic team is my way of showing a little appreciation for the tremendous work they do’.

Linsey Cresswell:

‘From 1996 to 1999 Mick and I seemed to almost live on the sixth floor of the Women’s Centre at the JR. We were under the watchful eye of Professor Chris Redman and the Silver Star Unit for the pregnancies and births of our three boys. At times I was not allowed to even leave the ward and Prof insisted on more than one occasion that we had to cancel holidays abroad. It was important that the Unit was a safe, supportive and homely place to be, and continues to be for new parents and their unborn babies. When I run my third marathon for the Silver Star Society, Josh will be 21 and Harry 18. Jacob sadly didn’t make it.

We are still regular visitors to the JR; in 2001 Harry (age 2) had open heart surgery to repair his aortic valve and inevitably in 2017 he will undergo more surgery to replace the valve completely, so you can understand that we are constantly in the debt of the JR hospital and this run is to, in some small way, repay that debt’.

Lily O’Connor:

‘I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be the Silver Star Unit nurse manager in 2004/2005. This experience showed me how a service can be exceptional for women and their families at a very stressful time in their lives. I often think back to my time working there and I am delighted to be given the opportunity to run the London Marathon for the Silver Star Society.’

 

 

 

 

Emma Walker:

‘The Silver Star Unit provided much needed support and care to myself and my family both during my pregnancy with my daughter Megan and also in the first few days following her birth. Myself and my husband experienced a very worrying and turbulent time in the months prior to our daughter’s birth, and we are incredibly grateful to the Silver Star Unit for the help and support they gave us. It is a real honour to raise money for the Silver Star Society, to help the Unit continue their vital work, and I will be proud to wear their running vest on April 23rd.’

 

 

Angela Kerr:

‘Our Silver Star ‘baby’ now aged twenty two, got married in June! I can’t believe that’s happened so soon, but he is very happy and living in Brighton with his lovely wife Rachel. He is pursuing a career in music and graphic design. I am so grateful to the Silver Star unit for the care I had during my pregnancy and his birth. He has turned out to be a very lovely young man.’

 

 

 

 

Tom Davies:

‘Just over a year ago, my wife Jules gave birth to our son Finn. From her first contraction it took 52 hours of labour before the decision to perform an emergency caesarean was made.

It was during this period that Finn gave us a few scares with his heartbeat dropping from time to time due to a reaction to a hormone drip. A crash team of doctors running in at this point certainly reminds you of human mortality. During and after those worrying hours in the John Radcliffe Maternity Unit I was amazed at the level of professionalism and care which the doctors, nurses and midwives offered.

I don’t think anyone is under any disillusionment that hospitals struggle and that wards like the Maternity Unit run mainly on good will and love to make people well again. Running the London Marathon is a small thing I can do to say thank you and I hope to raise money for the Silver Star Society that provides such special care for mothers with medical complications during pregnancy.’


We wish all runners luck on April 23rd . If you are interested in sponsoring a runner or giving to the Silver Star Society, please follow the justgiving link or see the website for details:

www.justgiving.com/silverstarsociety
www.silverstaroxford.org

Or you can contact Maggie Findlay, the Silver Star Society Administrator: Tel.01865 221718/ Mob. 07717012473 or e mail: silverstar.society@ouh.nhs.uk