Horsted Keynes mum of girl born prematurely to thank charity with four fundraisers

A Horsted Keynes mum is taking on four challenging fundraisers to thank a children’s charity for the support her daughter received when she was born.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 10:15 am

Sarah Webster will do two half-marathons, one bike ride and the virtual London Marathon between August and October in aid of Brighton-based Rockinghorse.

She was inspired to give back to the charity following her experience being supported by the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital after her youngest child, Amber Lily, was born prematurely at 26 weeks weighing 1.6lbs while the family were living in Dubai.

Sarah said: “I was aware of the support Rockinghorse offered as my two older sons were occasionally treated at the old Alex but having spent so much more time in the hospital with Amber Lily, you realise how hard it is on the whole family.

Sarah Webster from Horsted Keynes with her daughter Amber Lily at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital SUS-210728-143858001

“Raising funds for them means that I can hopefully help make that experience a little bit easier for other children and their families. You can’t stop children getting sick, but you can help make a difference.”

After Amber Lily’s premature birth, the family wanted to get her back to the UK for treatment as quickly as possible but it simply wasn’t possible while she was still so small and fragile.

So Sarah kept in contact with the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton to check that Amber Lily was getting the same kind of treatment in Dubai that she would have got back at home.

Eventually, when Amber Lily was three and a half months old, they brought her home and took her immediately to the special care baby unit in the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

While she still weighed only 5lbs, Amber Lily was put under the care of the staff at the hospital who helped manage the problems she had with her lungs and eyes arising from being born so early.

Since then, Amber Lily – who is now 12-years-old – has continued to have treatment for chronic lung damage, asthma and pneumonia and is why Sarah is continuing to support the charity.

She said: “Children are everyone’s priority and god forbid anyone would have to use the Alex. But if you ever do it’s a great feeling to know you have made their experience less stressful.”

To kick off her challenges, Sarah ran in the London Landmarks Half Marathon on Sunday, August 1. In September she will take on the Brighton Marathon Bike Ride, and in October she will do the Virtual London Marathon followed by the Brighton Half Marathon.

Sarah has raised money for Rockinghorse before, running in most of the Brighton half marathons events since they began, and her fundraising has even seen her running right past the hospital when Amber Lily was receiving treatment.

She said: “Last time she was in the Alex I was running the Brighton half right past her. She kept me going on that run; I’d had no sleep as I had been sleeping on the floor at the Alex next to Amber Lily the night before, but my whole purpose was to run because her lungs meant she couldn’t.”

Having the challenges close together was not Sarah’s intention, but the events all happen to fall around the same time after some were postponed due to Covid-19.

Lucy Pond, challenge fundraising manager at Rockinghorse, has been impressed with Sarah’s stamina. She said: “We are always so thankful to any of our supporters who take on even one of these events in aid of Rockinghorse.

“But for Sarah, she has really pushed the boat out. Taking part in one of these would be fantastic all four is a truly amazing achievement and we couldn’t be more grateful for her support. We wish her all the best and hope she’s not too tired at the end of October.”

To sponsor Sarah, search ‘Sarah Webster’ on www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/giving/ and for more about the charity visit www.rockinghorse.org.uk