Earlier this year, on 27 February 2015, The PwC Foundation hosted a charity fundraising relay. The Neonatal Trust were appreciative and very grateful to have been selected as one of the beneficiary charities, along with Wellington Free Ambulance and Ronald McDonald House.
The fundraising relay was close to 100 kilometres, split into 14 legs and was tackled by teams made up of staff and Alumni of PwC and also their clients and supporters.
The event started at the Wharewaka on the Wellington Waterfront and finished up on the other sided of the Rimutakla hills in Martinborough square!
The weather on the day was great, and plenty of fun was had! You can check out the images in our Facebook album for the event.
The relay was a great success and raised over $94,000 of which The Neonatal Trust received an amazing $31,485.
We’ve been working with the local neonatal units on their needs (then sourcing quotes) and can confirm that these funds have been put toward:
• Specialist chairs for Kangaroo cuddles and breastfeeding
The chairs need to be a great mix of comfort (to ensure the parents can provide the cuddles and feeding for long periods) as well as hygenic so they can be easily cleaned and can’t harbour bacteria – so important for use in the neonatal units where the babies are particularly susceptible to infection.
These comfortable chairs also are great for promoting reading to babies. This is great for bonding and also assists brain development and the development of the auditory cortex – as proved by multiple studies and covered off in this article referencing a Harvard study.
• Specialist NRIS probes for the care and monitoring of extremely premature babies
We have purchased some NRIS (near-infrared spectroscopy) probes for the clinical monitoring of extremely preterm infants (born <28 weeks of gestation). This supports both the care of the babies in the NICU and also the extra data will enhance the research of Dr Max Berry into the care of premature babies.
The probes enable clinicians to directly monitor brain oxygenation in real time. This is critical as wide fluctuations in brain oxygenation levels are thought to underlie development of neurological complications of prematurity. Therefore, tight regulation of brain oxygenation using NIRS probe is likely to significantly improve the long-term outcome of this vulnerable cohort of patients.
For context, premature birth remains the leading cause of neurodevelopmental disability in children in New Zealand and across the world. Approximately 5-15% of extremely preterm infants develop cerebral palsy and/or severe neurosensory impairment, and some will have lifelong cognitive, behavioural and social difficulties.
In this photo, the NRIS monitor sits on top of the incubator with the probes attached to the baby inside.
• Parents room enhancements
The Trust has and will be making a number of enhancements to the Parent’s overnight and day rooms/area in the neonatal units in Wellington and Lower Hutt. New furniture and other items will be to create a welcoming and relaxing environment.
Professional studies have proven direct links between the health and improvement of a baby and the state of the parent. A relaxed, comfortable and stress-free parent is required to ensure the best improvement and development of a young baby.
As babies are ready to head home, parents can stay in the Unit to help with the transition. Parents can stay in the overnight rooms and they begin to take more direct care of their babies. This enables the ironing out of any feeding or other issues with the knowledge that support from the staff and specialist equipment is close by.
Two hospital grade breastpumps have been purchased for The Neonatal Trust to deliver a valuable support service to stressed neonatal parents and to enhance the care of their babies.
Many mothers need to express milk to feed their babies through gastro or nasal tubes, until their babies are able to breast feed. Also, for Mums who can breastfeed, Mums will still be required to continue to express breastmilk for their babies to top them up or for feeds when Mums can’t be at the hospital.
Further, neonatal babies are particularly susceptible to infection and health issues and the importance of establishing and maintaining a feeding routine is critical to their health and development. Neonatal Trust are cleaned and maintained by trained staff or volunteers and we also provide equipment support, how to training (use and cleaning) and our location in NICUs means reduced travel needs – key for new parents, particularly those who have had c-sections or complications themselves and also have had to deal with the arrival of a new baby in circumstances outside of the norm.
PwC is the largest professional services organisation in the country, helping clients build value, manage risk and improve their performance.
In addition to the support The Neonatal Trust received from PWC for the charity relay, PwC also provide valuable audit services to the Trust nationwide on a pro-bono basis. We cannot thank you enough for this.
We would like to acknowledge and express our gratitude to PwC for their continued support of The Neonatal Trust. They really are helping us to make a difficult start to life that little bit easier!