Molly flies from Cyprus back to the UK for neonatal care
Molly was born 16 weeks early whilst her family were on holiday in Cyprus. Exeter mum, Bethany, was with her husband Jan and two children, when she went into labour on the last day of their holiday.
Being born so early, Molly is was placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a hospital in Cyprus whilst Bethany was cared for in a different hospital, an hour apart. Bethany was only allowed to see Molly for one hour a day, including any medical updates, which meant that Bethany only had 20 minutes a day to bond with her new baby. Jan, Molly’s dad, had to fly home with their older children so Bethany faced this difficult time alone. Dealing with the stress of a premature birth is traumatic in any situation, even more so in a foreign country where language is a barrier and where this family had no support network around them.
In addition, the family faced the cost of €1,000 (£860) each day for Molly’s medical care. It was essential that Molly was flown home to Exeter to receive neonatal care closer to home.
Bethany and Jan’s family and friends were doing everything they could to support the family whilst over 2,000 miles away, at home in the UK. They contacted national charity, Lia's Wings, to ask if they could help assist Jan and Bethany. Once we heard about Molly’s story, we immediately wanted to help.
Lia's Wings contacted the family and initially provided financial assistance as well as practical guidance and medical support for Molly’s safe air ambulance transfer home. The charity then started to help with sharing their story with the press and helping to generate more funding for Molly’s air transfer.
Charlotte, Lia's Wings CEO, said:
“As a small national charity that is only permitted to operate in the UK, we are doing all we can to help Molly’s family. We have supported the family with the organisation of an air ambulance to fly Molly and her mum back from Cyprus to a hospital closer to home, where they can receive continuity of care from the NHS.”
Together with the Cleathero family, Lia's Wings raised a total of £37,000 towards the costs of the air transfer. The Cleathero family aim to raise the rest through fundraising activities when they are home.
With the majority of the funding secured, Lia's Wings could start planning Molly’s air transfer. However, just a few days before we planned to fly Molly home she became seriously ill and needed urgent surgery. She needed to fully recover from the surgery before she could fly.
Molly stabilised over the weekend and Lia's Wings was finally able to fly Molly home. After three long weeks at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Cyprus, Molly and Bethany were going home.
Bethany, Molly's mum, said:
“I am so thankful to my friends for finding out about the charity Lia's Wings. Charlotte has been truly amazing and I really do believe that now we have their help we will get Molly safely back to the UK. We really need people’s kindness to continue in our effort to raise the money we so desperately need to get us home.”
On Tuesday 19th July, the Lia's Wings Flight Team collected Molly and Bethany from the hospital in Cyprus and placed Molly into a flight-ready incubator where she stayed throughout the transfer. The specialist incubator acts like a mobile neonatal intensive care unit, giving Molly the acute care she needs whilst she travelled the long-distance home. Lia's Wings is the only charity in the UK that has a specialist piece of equipment like this.
The transfer went flawlessly, and Molly and Bethany touched down later that day at Exeter Airport where Jan met them on the tarmac. It was an incredibly emotional moment for the family, captured by ITV News West Country.
We would like to say a special thank you to everyone who donated to the family’s fundraising page, for your words of encouragement and the support you have given to Molly’s family – it has been such a comfort and lifeline to them during this difficult time.
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