Proud Evelina London family raise thousands in memory of their son, Dylan

Posted on Thursday 29th September 2022

'We Ride for Dylan' cycling team

A family have raised more than £47,000 for Evelina London Children’s Hospital to honour the life of their son.

Anita-Mai Goulding Barette and Nick Barette have thanked staff who cared for their son, Dylan, on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), before he passed away at 37 days old. They were recently joined by friends and family to complete their second annual ‘We Ride for Dylan’ fundraising cycle for Evelina London Children’s Charity, which saw them cover 54 miles, including 4,000 feet of uphill riding.

Dylan was born at St Thomas’ Hospital on 18 November 2020 with multiple congenital health conditions and had to stay in our NICU, which is co-located in St Thomas’. Though staff worked around the clock caring for Dylan, devastatingly he tragically passed away in his parents’ arms 37 days later, on Christmas Eve.

Anita-Mai, 34, said: “Dylan was seen by so many different teams while staying at the hospital and the level of care they gave to him was absolutely astounding. It was such a difficult time filled with an endless amount of love and hope for our boy. Everyone was so compassionate and did what they could to keep us informed so we could understand every aspect of Dylan’s care.

“The whole team are incredibly special to us. Dr Hammad Khan was Dylan’s doctor from when he was born and he was one of the first people to meet our daughter, Olivia-Mai, when she was born in February this year at St Thomas’ Hospital. I keep in touch with Dylan’s favourite nurse, Lucy Preece, as she’s also such an important person to our family. The team gave a massive amount of love and care to Dylan. It’s a phenomenally special place and in honouring our son’s legacy we want to continue to raise money and awareness for his Evelina London pals”.

As a way of marking Dylan’s life and celebrating him, each year, his godfather, Stewart Rae, came up with the idea of an annual cycle ride which raises vital funds for our NICU.

Anita-Mai said: “It’s extremely important to us to increase awareness about neonatal medicine and to raise money to go towards neonatal research at Evelina London and towards helping more babies and supporting their parents.

“We were very lucky that Evelina London gave us the 37 days we did spend with our son and our hope is that other babies who are like Dylan get even more time than that and hopefully go on to live long, beautiful lives with their families.”

Consultant neonatologist Dr Hammad Khan said: “Anita-Mai and Nick, the amazing parents of Dylan, have done an incredible thing in raising money for the neonatal unit at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. This money will go a long way to support the care of babies like Dylan. The whole team on the neonatal unit are grateful to them.”

This year’s ride saw the team of cyclists start at Brixton’s Brockwell Park, head south to Westerham in Kent and back to Brockwell Park via the 712ft Brasted Hill. The group were met by Anita-Mai and more than twenty friends and family, including Dylan’s sister Olivia-Mai, at Dylan’s tree that was planted in the family’s local park in his memory.

Dylan’s father, Nick, 36, said: “The ride was amazing. My body still hurts a little. Though last year’s ride was longer, this one was much harder. It’s fantastic that so many people took part in the ride. There’s a lot of training involved so it means so much to us that people have taken to time to do this. It’s also incredibly touching that even more people joined us at the park to show their love for Dylan. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would raise this much money over the two events.

“While taking a break during the ride we were approached by a stranger that asked us about our Evelina London tops. We explained why we were cycling and she was really moved by the story, particularly as her husband was treated at St Thomas’ Hospital, and asked if she could donate. Doing this really reminds you how compassionate people are.”

Though this year’s event has only just finished, Anita-Mai, Nick and Stewart are already looking to make the next ‘We Ride for Dylan’ even bigger and better. Anita-Mai and Nick have launched the Dylan’s Pals website which includes further details on how their fundraising supports Evelina London’s NICU.

To donate to this year’s ‘We Ride for Dylan’ fundraiser, visit JustGiving.