Parents raise $109,000 for Flinders Medical Center NICU through Arthur’s Fund in memory of their son

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For Steph and Huw McConachy, losing their beloved first child Arthur less than two days after birth was the worst time of their lives.

But through the haze of grief in the weeks that followed, the couple began channeling their energy into raising money for the hospital that had cared for them.

Arthur, who suffered from birth asphyxia – or lack of oxygen – at an unknown stage of pregnancy, was born at Flinders Medical Center in South Adelaide on February 28, 2021.

Unable to overcome the damage to his organs, and despite the care of medical personnel, Arthur died after spending 36 precious hours with his parents.

Steph and Huw now consider Flinders Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as Arthur’s home for his short life and say staff have worked hard to care for the young family, despite the added challenge of COVID restrictions -19 on services at the time.

“Everyone went above and beyond to try to do what they could for him and literally threw everything at him,” Huw said.

“After that we realized, with follow-up appointments, how many things they didn’t have. This is the main hospital. If you have any problems, this is where you end up.

Fundraising exceeds $109,000

Foreign friends of the couple who were desperate to lend their support created a $1,000 fundraising page in Arthur’s memory, which was quickly overwhelmed.

Determined to direct their love for Arthur into something positive, Steph and Huw took over the fundraiser, naming it Arthur’s Fund, so they could work with the Flinders Foundation to purchase equipment on Arthur’s wish list. the NICU.

“We wanted to do something tangible with the fundraiser for Flinders,” Steph said.

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“We didn’t just want to fundraise. We wanted to fundraise for specific items.”

Raising their goal to $10,000 and then quickly to $38,000, Steph and Huw hosted their first official events – quiz nights bringing their community together in Port Elliot, South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, and Adelaide.

It was at these events that the couple shared the pieces of equipment the funds were used to purchase.

To date, they have purchased, among other things, an incubator for premature babies, a defibrillator and essential breast pumps.

“One of the items we raised money for was a height-adjustable bassinet, so if you’ve had a caesarean…it’s easier for the mom to be on the same level as the baby,” Steph said.

“That crib could then hold all of the baby’s survival gear, so the baby could go outside or somewhere else.

With a third event, a ‘black disco’ held in Port Elliot in June, Arthur’s Fund has now raised over $109,000 for the Flinders Foundation.

I look forward while keeping Arthur close

Now that the couple have reached their $100,000 goal, they plan to continue fundraising for other organizations in Arthur’s memory.

Steph is also working with experts on a website providing sensitively curated information on postpartum care for new mothers who have lost their babies.

“When people talk to you, they don’t talk to you like you’ve just given birth…it’s not acknowledged.

“So that’s part of our approach, it’s how can we help other people in this situation as well.”

Steph and Huw said one of the most enjoyable parts of what they experienced was the relationships established with NICU staff at Flinders.

“It was Arthur’s house and I actually find it quite comforting to go back there,” Steph said.

“We had a lot of Arthur’s doctors and nurses come to the fundraisers, so it was amazing to see them all again.”

And now the couple can’t wait to share something else with Arthur’s medical team – their new sibling, due in August.

“Like I was telling Huw, I can’t wait to take this baby over to see them and say hi,” Steph said.

“To see all the midwives and everyone who was with us during the worst part of our lives…and the best part of our lives, in many ways too.”

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