What a difference a year makes

Posted on Thursday 7th February 2019
Baby Luca

Baby Luca with a birthday card

A year ago, Kirsty Wardley and her family spent Christmas and New Year at Evelina London with their newborn son, Luca. Thanks to the brilliant care Luca received at our hospital, they were able to enjoy the recent festive season at home.

Luca, from Kent, was born at just 24 weeks, weighing only 780 grams (1 pound 7 ounces).  His prematurity meant he had to have very special treatment, so immediately after his birth, he was transferred to our care from Princess Royal University Hospital. 

Kirsty Wardley, 31, says: “My experience of the neonatal intensive care unit at Evelina London was fantastic. We are so thankful for the care we got. The team supported us during a very difficult time. He would not be here without them.”

Luca needed help with his breathing and had to have a tracheostomy to support his airway before his parents could take him home. During Luca's treatment at our neonatal intensive care unit, Kirsty lived at our Ronald McDonald House so that she could be close to him. In total, Luca spent seven months staying at Evelina London, but after successful treatment, he was able to go home on 4 July, 2018.

Luca recently celebrated his first birthday at home. “It was amazing,” says Kirsty. “We had a Peter Rabbit themed birthday party and it was so lovely to watch him play with other children. He is now working on sitting up and trying to figure out movement. He is such a happy, engaging baby and we are so thankful to have him with us.”

This Christmas was very special for the Wardley family as they were able have Christmas lunch all together as a family for the first time, rather than sitting next to Lucas’ incubator as they had done in 2017.

Kirsty says: “It was a very special day. We opened presents with our beautiful little boy, and it was lovely watching him play with all of his toys and sitting in his high chair at Christmas lunch.” 

Kirsty, together with another mother who she met at our hospital, also marked Christmas by preparing 42 festive gift bags for parents whose children were staying at our neonatal unit.

Kirsty says: "We think it is very important that we give something back."

Luca's godparents, along with other family friends, have been keen to show their support for Evelina London as well. They have raised over £6,000  by participating in the Three Peaks Challenge.

Are you interested in raising money for our charity? Find out more about how you can support our work and help more babies like Luca. This year, as we celebrate 150 years of caring for children, we are particularly encouraging people to raise money for us through Challenge 150