Mayfield mum on mission to support baby unit

Louise & Darren Holgate with their baby Mackenzie
Louise & Darren Holgate with their baby Mackenzie

A Mayfield mother of seven is trying to raise as much money as possible for the unit that saved her premature baby’s life last year.

Louise Holgate (34), a carer for the elderly, is holding a fundraiser next month for Simpsons Special Care Babies, which treated her six-month-old son Mackenzie.

Mackenzie Holgate in hospital, born 10 weeks early

Mackenzie Holgate in hospital, born 10 weeks early

She said: “We are doing this because in August last year I had a wee boy ten weeks early. I had never had any bother with my other children. At six days old he had an infection called NEC. It eats away at their bowels and could potentially kill them.

“He had to get a life-saving operation. They removed a small portion of his small bowel and 80cm of his large bowel. It was life and death. It was the not knowing if we would ever bring him home or not. Mackenzie was really sick. We were offered a priest for the last rites.

“He was transferred from neo-natal to the sick kids that day. We spent 62 days in hospital, 50 in the intensive care unit. We go in on March 10 to see the surgeon about getting Mackenzie’s operation reversed. He has a bag just now. He was supposed to go in December but he was still too small.

“Obviously he is a bit smaller than a normal six-month-old baby. But he is thriving. We are so proud of him. Adults would struggle to recover from that operation.”

Louise now wants to raise awareness of the unit.

She said: “We have got a Just Giving page, which is sitting at £1,000. It’s just really been through Facebook that we have had donations.

“The charity night is basically to raise awareness that Simpsons Special Care Babies all depends on fundraising and donations. I had never had any contact with neo-natal. It’s not until you get in there that you realise how much they do for sick and premature babies.

“No amount of money will ever thank them for what they did for Mackenzie. But if we can give them something back to help another family, then that’s enough for us.

“The nurses treated the children like their own. We have actually become friends with a couple of them and they are coming to the fundraiser night.”

Lousie is married to courier Darren (44). Their other six children are Jack (14), Leah (12), Josh (9), Lewis (7), Olivia (6) and Hayden (5).

Donate online at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/mackenzieholgate

The fundraiser on March 25, 7pm, is at Newtongrange Star club, with an auction, raffle, buffet and disco. Tickets £10. Call 07415 988 824.

Lee Picken is a volunteer for the Simpsons Special Care Babies charity which supports the neo natal unit of the Simpsons maternity unit at the ERI, and is made up of parents who all had children there.

She said: “A lot of parents when they come home from Simpsons with their children immediately want to do something to say thank you. And this is a wonderful way to raise money. It’s a bit different to what we normally get. I think it’s brilliant.

“We would just like to say thank you to Mackenzie’s family and the local businesses who have provided raffle prizes.

“It’s great to see the local community coming together for something like this. And we are very grateful to them.”