What do most five year old boys want for their birthday?  Cars, footballs, lego?  Well, Taylor Woodgate is not like most boys.  Taylor was born at 23 weeks gestation at a mere 580 grams.  When he turned five, to celebrate his birthday, his family decided that he had plenty of toys and would rather people donated birthday money to The Neonatal Trust (Wellington).

Believe it or not, Taylor raised enough money for five Pepi-Pod® sleep spaces.  The Neonatal Trust (Wellington) matched his five and raised him another few so in total the Neonatal Unit at Wellington Hospital received 25 Pepi-Pod® sleep spaces.

Pepi-Pod® sleep spaces were designed by a group based in Christchurch called “Change for Our Children”.  Pepi-Pod® sleep spaces started as emergency beds for vulnerable babies in Christchurch, following the 2011 earthquakes.  They are a baby cot that is made out of a base that is a plastic box and comes with a lovely cover, a mattress, sheets and blankets.  As the Pepi-Pod® sleep space was such a success in Christchurch, Change for Our Children started looking at how else the Pepi-Pod® sleep space could help other communities in New Zealand.  They talked to a number of health professionals about the issue of safe sleeping and started working with midwives and hospitals to get the safe sleeping word out there.

The 25 Pepi-Pod® sleep spaces that the Wellington NICU received are used by the Community Team to loan out to families in need who are struggling to find safe sleeping options for their premature babies when they take them home.

The story of our Neonatal Hero Taylor isn’t over yet though.  Taylor’s grandmother was so proud of her grandson’s kindness and generosity and she loved the Pepi-Pod® sleep space idea.  Sadly she passed away but prior to passing away she requested that instead of flowers, donations kindly be made to The Neonatal Trust.  The money this raised went on to pay for 10 new mattresses for the Pepi-Pod® sleep spaces, an ongoing cost to the Trust.

Taylor, we are so grateful to you, your grandmother, and your family and friends who so kindly gave you birthday money.  Many babies will benefit from your selfless act in future years.  On behalf of all those who will benefit from Taylor’s generosity, we say thank you Taylor!

Further information about Pepi-Pod® sleep spaces can be found here:
http://www.changeforourchildren.co.nz/tender_shoot/pepi_pod_programme/home