Broxburn mum Coady Dorman, who is a volunteer for Bliss Scotland, has taken on the mantle of this month’s Local Hero after raising much-needed funds and awareness for the charity, following the premature birth of her son Matthew at 29 weeks in 2013.
As a way of saying thank you to Bliss Scotland, the UK’s leading charity for babies born premature or sick, who helped her after Matthew was born, Coady has dedicated her time to supporting parents with premature babies at St John’s Special Baby Care Unit to get through what is a very stressful, worrying and often lonely time.
Coady has also been highlighting changes which need to be addressed in neonatal care to practitioners and politicians, including presenting the Bliss Baby Report 2017 in January at the Scottish Parliament, which was live-streamed to Westminster.
This included recommendations for better family-centred care, focussing on helping parents to get more involved with the care premature babies receive in hospital, which is important for parental bonding, and highlighting the need for more family rooms and neonatal transport services.
Coady also presented at the British Association of Perinatal Medicine Conference at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh where she gave a parents’ view of what happens when you have a premature baby and advising medical professionals on different and better ways of communicating with families.
Coady, who became a Champion and Community Ambassador at Bliss Scotland earlier this year, said: “Matthew is my little miracle, which is the reason I do what I do and want to help people in the same situation I was in and support them as much as possible.
“I really don’t know what I would have done without the support from Bliss Scotland which is why I want to raise awareness and funds to make sure every parent continues to have that support, which for me was invaluable.
“To see the strength of a tiny 2lb baby, defy all odds, and help parents through each step of the journey has become my passion and goal in life. Hearing my story and giving them hope and preparation tips for when they get home is something that I will never tire of doing as it is a reminder, every day, of how lucky I am to have my beautiful son Matthew.”
Fundraising events carried out by Coady to ensure the charity can continue to raise awareness and support parents, includes a Bliss Little Heroes Walk in April at the Kelpies in Falkirk, which raised £1k and a sponsored buggy push.
Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss Scotland said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear that Coady’s hard work and dedication to Bliss Scotland is being recognised.
“Coady has raised a lot of money for us over the years as well as volunteering as a Bliss Champion at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.
“Bliss Champions like Coady provide vital support to parents of babies in neonatal care, as well as linking to our wider services. We are so thankful to Coady for using her free time to act as a pillar of support for families at a time when they need it most.
“Coady volunteers and fundraises for Bliss Scotland with great enthusiasm and joy. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this Local Hero Award.”
Ashley Bisland, Deputy Centre Director at The Centre, said: “Coady’s commitment to helping new parents in the same position she found herself in is commendable and also raise awareness and funds for the charity which helped her out is the reason we are delighted to announce her as this month’s Local Hero.”