Our Reuben’s Retreat families are always inspiring us!
Sarah, Heidi’s Mummy, set up a charity called PEEPS in 2018, supporting families who have been affected by HIE. HIE stands for hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, it is a lack of oxygen to the brain that can cause injury. Please read Sarah’s words below about her amazing little Heidi, the inspiration behind PEEPs:
“Our daughter, Heidi, was born on Mother’s Day 2015. Our first baby, our world. She collapsed while having skin to skin time, later diagnosed as a HIE event. She was whisked away, resuscitated, and transferred to another hospital for cooling. We were left in shock and disbelief at the horror unfolding before us.
We’re pretty strong people, but we hadn’t been prepared for things to go so badly wrong. I’d had a straight-forward pregnancy, Heidi was full term, and I never even thought we might be leaving the hospital without her.
Heidi, and me and Steve couldn’t have been better looked after, even to the point that I didn’t want to leave NICU as I felt so safe there! It surprised me how quickly you build up relationships with those around you in such difficult circumstances.
One of my fondest members was receiving a note, written on a paper hand towel, by one of the cleaners of our room in the children’s unit, as we were due to leave for home. She was so thoughtful, wished us all the best on our journey – her kindness will stay with me always.
Fast forward 6 years, Heidi is now a very loved, slightly sassy 6-year-old. She loves Strictly Come Dancing, music, and being outdoors. She also has a long list of extras, including cerebral palsy (affecting all four limbs), epilepsy, a tracheostomy, fully tube fed, hearing/visual impairments. But to us she is Heidi, and we know no different.
Over the years we’ve learned that HIE is actually more common than you might think. It affects around 4 in every 1000 births – whilst other conditions or challenges might be talked about at antenatal, HIE was never mentioned. We wanted to try and change things a little, reach out to families who might need a bit of support, let people know they aren’t on their own.
We set up Peeps (the name is a nod to “Heidi-Peeps”) in 2018. It’s been growing ever since. Providing emotional, practical and financial support to anyone affected by HIE, our aim is to carry on until we’re not needed!
The last year has been challenging for so many people, in different ways. Lots of our families have been shielding, away from usual support networks. I think it’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to calmer times ahead.”
Please visit www.peeps-hie.org or @peepsHIE on social media to follow and share their journey 💙