A Cork couple are running the Cork City Marathon for two reasons — in memory of their baby Beth, but also to give a maternity hospital something simple: a double bed.
Twins Beth Hope and Harry were born to Trish and Daniel Clifford at 34 weeks in Cork University Maternity Hospital. Beth Hope, who weighed just 3lb 9oz, lost her life on November 30, 2013, after just five days.
On November 29, Beth’s consultant informed Trish and Daniel that she had tested positive for Patau syndrome (trisomy 13), a genetic disorder that carries a high mortality rate.
The following day, staff moved Harry and Beth to a room of their own in the neonatal unit. At 3.10pm, with her brother close to her, Beth died in her mother’s arms.
Trish recalls that throughout this extremely difficult time, the kindness shown to her family by the hospital staff was incredible.
“What now? Who prepares you for this? The respect, care, and love we were treated with by the staff I will never forget. We were swept up in their care and arms. I was admitted to the fourth floor for three nights, Daniel was given a blow-up bed for the floor with Beth in her crib next to us. Harry remained in the neonatal unit,” Trish says.
Daniel had to sleep on the blow-up bed as the hospital did not have a double-bed available for parents who lose babies through miscarriage or soon after birth.
“This is why I came up with ‘Beth’s bed’. The only thing that helps ease the pain is closeness to your partner, to know that you are not on your own, that they know the pain you feel, and, with them by your side, you will get through the nightmare,” Trish says.
The couple are donning their runners and taking part in the Cork City Marathon to try to raise funds to buy a profiling, electrical double-bed for the fourth floor of CUMH in memory of Beth.
The bed will cost approximately €8,000, and the couple are taking part in the race to help raise the funds along with a group of their friends and colleagues.
“There are 20 people from work and about 60 people in total running for Beth. The way we were treated in the hospital was just amazing and this is something we can do to celebrate Beth’s life and give something back,” Trish says.
The closing date for the Irish Examiner Cork City Marathon is May 8. The race takes place on June 1. See www.irishexaminercorkcitymarathon.com for more.
The race is a major event on the sporting calendar, attracting participants from all over the world. More than 8,000 took part last year.
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