Holstein NI’s annual Open Day and stockjudging event on the outskirts of Ballymena has raised £34,000 for the regional neonatal unit - a charity close to the hearts of the event’s hosts.
Club representatives recently handed over the cheque to the Perinatal Trust Fund at the Royal Victoria Hospital’s regional Neonatal Unit in Belfast.
The money was raised at the club’s second annual open day hosted earlier this year by the Smyth family’s Ballyweaney Herd at Cloughmills.
Open Day hosts Gareth and Judith Smyth are the proud parents of twin sons Wallace and Austin who were born almost 16 weeks premature. The boys spent the first few months of their lives in intensive care incubators at the regional neonatal unit.
“Wallace and Austin were born on New Years Day 2016 weighing 1lb 10ozs and 1lb 8ozs. It was a difficult and emotional journey for the whole family, but thanks to the excellent facilities and specialist care provided by the medical team, they are miracle babies,” said Gareth.
“The open day was a huge success, and we have been overwhelmed by the generosity and support for the Perinatal Trust Fund – a charity very close to our hearts. A sincere thank you to everyone who donated items for the charity auction and raffle, sent donations and attended the open day.”
Consultant neonatologist Dr Richard Tubman, treasurer of the Perinatal Trust Fund said: “This is a fantastic amount of money, and one of the biggest donations we have received in the charity’s 30-year history.
“We don’t get funding from the NHS. The Perinatal Trust fund facilitates the purchase of vital medical equipment and staff training, and relies solely on the public’s support and voluntary donations.
“This phenomenal cheque will go a long way towards purchasing specialist equipment such as incubators and ventilators for the neonatal unit.”
Based at the Royal Maternity Hospital in Belfast, the regional neonatal unit has 24 cots and is one of the largest specialist baby units in the UK. The state-of-the-art intensive care facility treats premature and sick babies from throughout Northern Ireland, and its medical professionals are responsible for more than 500 admissions annually.
Holstein NI chairTommy Henry said: “This year’s open day far exceeded our initial expectations. I’d like to thank the Smyth family, Mervyn, May, Gareth and Judith, their friends, club members and everyone who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to contribute to the success of the open day. Thanks also to our sponsors Ecosyl from Volac and Lacpatrick.”