Lee and Melissa Seager’s son Finley was born four weeks premature and they are forever grateful to Beeding Ward for the care they received.
As a thank you, 30-year-old Lee and some of Finley’s godparents ran the Worthing 10k to raise money for the unit, and after consultation with the nurses, the aim is to transform the transition room, where mums care for their babies before going home.
Melissa, 29, said: “Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, we have been unable to go back with Finley and thank them face-to-face but we are in contact with them with ideas about how to best spend the money.
“When Finley was well enough to come home, I spent my first night as a mum in the transition room on the ward. Whilst this room was special in the way it allowed me to care for my baby for the first time, it was very basic and lacked the warmth and love that I needed.
“With the money we have raised, I would love to be able to refurbish the rooms - there is one single and one double - and give them a much-needed makeover. I know this would have such a positive impact on parent’s well-being during such unsettling and uncertain times.”
Lee and Melissa, who live in Ferring, found out at their 20-week scan that Finley had some abnormalities with his bladder and left kidney. Then, he was born premature, on February 15 last year.
Melissa said: “When Finley was born a month early, those medical needs were put to the back of our minds as the care he needed in SCBU was different to what we had prepared ourselves for.
“Watching him and caring for him from an incubator during those early days was incredibly scary and a million miles from what we had envisioned.
“The nurses, doctors and nursery nurses soon became our family and didn’t just look after Finley, they looked after us, too. They hold such a special place in our hearts, we truly won’t ever be able to thank them enough.”
For his abnormalities, Finley was under the care of specialists at Southampton Hospital and then Portland Hospital in London, but he spent the first eight days of his life being looked after in Worthing SCBU.
Melissa said: “We’ve kept in contact with them and have sent regular goodie boxes of things they need for the babies, and treats for them, too. But we wanted to do something special to raise some money that would allow them to provide much-needed support to other poorly babies and their families.
“Finley is doing great, he is such a happy, cheeky and funny 20-month-old. You’d never know by looking at him all the tricky times he’s been through, he is such a fighter.
“He had three surgeries when he was five months old but recovered amazingly and remains under the care of his consultant in London. We will know when he is potty trained if he needs further surgeries but for the moment his remaining kidney functions well and compensates for the one that was removed.”