A Dundee dad is hoping to raise funds for Ninewells Hospital’s neonatal unit after it helped save the life of new-born son.
Bryan Etchells and his wife Hayley welcomed Freddie in March. He was born at 27 weeks early weighed just 1lb 4oz, the same as half a bag of sugar.
Freddie has stayed at the neonatal unit since his birth, having to remain on a ventilator for months.
He also suffers from a chronic lung disease which means he is in need of oxygen support.
And Bryan has set up a fundraiser on JustGiving to show his gratitude to the unit’s staff.
He is also running six kilometres a day to help raise the money.
The 34-year-old said: “We knew that Freddie was fragile and we were really scared and confused.
“As soon as we stepped in there, the attention the staff gave us was amazing.
“We’re going through this emotional rollercoaster of our son being there for three months. The nurses come around often and just sit and chat with you, making sure you’re alright.
“I would describe them as aunties, every single one of them. They know Freddie so well.”
Constant updates from hospital
Bryan and Hayley live in Douglas with their three sons Blair and Alfie, both eight, and Tommy, three.
Bryan shared that nurses are able to keep the family up to date on Freddie.
He said: “They have an app called vCreate that they use to take photos and videos to send to us. We wake up to ‘good morning from Freddie’ messages.
“I went back to work and received a ‘good luck on your first day back’ message on it. It gives you a daily boost.
“You can phone them at any point during the day. We would phone them on an hourly basis because we were so worried and you never feel like you’re a burden to them.
Bryan, who posts video updates on YouTube, shared how nurses tended to his wife after she was called back into Ninewells.
He said: “Hayley was in hospital for four days and was discharged. She then had to go back because she had a really serious blood clot.
“She was there for nine days and couldn’t walk, it added to our worries.
“As she couldn’t get to see Freddie, the nurses would come through often with pictures for her, making sure that she was okay.
“They took their time to help her see Freddie and were always mindful about her mental health.
“You know that the NHS is amazing but this unit are a cut above what I’ve ever seen before.
“The care they provide and the thoughtfulness of every member, they’re like angels.”
Initial target smashed
Bryan initially set a £300 target that was reached not on after he set up the fundraiser.
He said: “The initial target was modest but I wasn’t sure how many people would have noticed it.
“It seems to have touched quite a lot of people, even Cllr John Alexander has donated.
“The running helped me focus. I do enjoy running and have done charity runs before.
“I run six kilometres because he was born on the 6th.
“There has been a period where I’ve suffered shin splints but that may be because I didn’t really practice at the start.
“It’s going really well and I’m enjoying updating everyone on a daily basis about how Freddie is getting on.
“Freddie is now approaching 5lbs and he’s starting to thrive, he’s no longer ventilated and is now bottle-fed. I’m so grateful.”