A COUPLE who lost their baby daughter 10 years ago despite the best efforts of intensive care staff have presented a cheque to the hospital unit which at the same time saved the life of their new born son.
Patricia and William Hamilton, from Beresford Green in Dromore, gave the cheque for £850 to the neonatal unit at Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital where Jessica was cared for with her twin brother William after their birth.
Jessica was born with a heart defect and died on January 19, 2000 - at the age of just two days. Her parents wanted to mark the 10th anniversary of her passing and dad William raised some of the money through a sponsored 10k run while mum Patricia, who also runs a School of Music and Performing Arts, raised the rest through a concert.
The couple presented the money to Mrs Heather Coughlin, midwifery sister at the Royal-Jubilee Maternity Hospital.
William was 5lbs 15oz and Jessica was 4lbs 12oz when they were born at the Lagan Valley Hospital on January 17, 2000. As they were four weeks premature the babies were taken to the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital.
Patricia recalls: "The care and the support we were given was just truly amazing. We could not have asked for better.
"Before the twins were born I had no idea about the real need for more neo natal beds. It is a whole different world and you do not realise the need there is until you go through it yourself.
"Unfortunately, our daughter died two days after she was born but our son William survived.
"We were so heartbroken, it has taken many years for us to come to terms with Jessica's death. You never really get over it, you just learn how to live with it.
"Anniversaries can be painful but we've come to a place in our lives where we try to mark it in a positive way. With it being ten years we wanted to raise as much money as we could for the neonatal unit in memory of Jessica."
Patricia continued: "The neonatal unit staff do a tremendous work and we will never forget how caring and supportive they were to us in helping us deal with the death of Jessica and also in their treatment of William."
Patricia and William would also like to thank all those who sponsored William's run and those who purchased tickets for the concert.
They would also like to thank the pupils and teachers of the school who made the concert so successful. They would also like to thank Heather Coughlin and Maureen O'Dowd, practice educator, for attending the concert as special guests and telling about the work they are involved in the neonatal unit.