Fighting for baby Ava
My dear friend Sonia gave birth to her much longed-for little girl Ava in November 2020. When she was only four weeks old, Ava became seriously unwell with a virus, requiring weeks in intensive care in Manchester which permanently weakened her heart. In March 2021, Ava’s condition suddenly worsened and she had an emergency transfer to a specialist children’s heart centre in Newcastle. Ava managed to survive but a pump device is now doing her heart’s work for her. It is keeping her alive until she can receive a heart transplant. Ava must now live in the hospital until that opportunity comes. This unbearable wait could take years. Sonia and her husband Dan both work within the frontline NHS, having given their entire professional careers to the NHS. Suddenly, they have had their whole lives uprooted, leaving Manchester, now living in the hospital’s parents’ accommodation. Instead of a joyous first maternity leave, Sonia has mostly been inside intensive care. She is by Ava’s bedside from early morning until late at night. She has learnt to manage complicated machinery and continues to pump breastmilk, even though Ava cannot breastfeed. She has advocated for her daughter at every turn. However, the low days cannot be denied – they cannot be like a ‘normal’ family. Sonia rarely leaves the hospital grounds and they cannot risk any infection with Ava. This is where I strongly believe a Peloton would be a lifeline. As a mother to young children myself, the Peloton has been life changing to my own wellbeing, physically and mentally. The change in just a few short months has been dramatic. I truly believe it would have the same profound impact on Sonia, giving a focus to her endless days in hospital. It would connect her to a positive community, to momentarily break free of the restrictions keeping her there. It would energise her and encourage her to self-care. I believe a Peloton can empower Sonia to ride out the dark days and become even stronger for beautiful Ava.