LISBURN WOMAN TO HOLD MARSQUERADE BALL FOR CHARITIES
Sophie, Lewis and Brendan Pratt (right)
Carol Pratt and sister Natalie Martin with her daughter Isabelle
A LOCAL woman will be spending the next year organising a masquerade ball in memory of her nephew who suffered a cot death in 2002.
Natalie Martin from Craigmore Road is holding the ball on Friday May 4 2012 at the Wellington Park Hotel to help raise money and awareness for both SCOPE, a disability charity for those suffering from cerebral palsy, and FSID, Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, a charity that helps those affected by unexplained sudden deaths in babies.
Natalie's nephew Brendan Pratt, who suffered from Cerebral Palsy, was just 22 months old when he died in his cot. His brother Lewis celebrated his tenth birthday in February.
Natalie explained: "It was the most awful thing to happen to our family. We come from a big family and his sudden death affected us all. It was really awful.
"Sometime after Brendan was born he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The family had a hard time dealing with that."
It is believed Brendan was starved of oxygen during birth which the family were told may have caused the cerebral palsy.
Then without warning another tragedy struck the Pratt family when at just 22 months Brendan was found dead in his cot at home in Great Wyrley in England.
His father had got up that morning and left early for work. His mother Carol, Natalie's sister, got up a little time later to check on her twin sons to find Brendan lifeless.
"His death was never really explained," Natalie said. "They were told that it was just one of those things. Because there was no explanation they found it hard to cope with.
"The fact that someone's heart can just stop like that for no apparent reason was difficult to take.
"He was 22 months, which was old for a cot death. A few months back it was Lewis's birthday and you still feel you should be buying a present for two boys instead of one."
Natalie had always wanted to do something to raise money for the charities that helped the family through the difficult times.
"SCOPE was great when Brendan was growing up," said Natalie. "Carol had a nurse who would help with activities and our family, and my sister especially, knows these charities need to be helped to raise funds and awareness."
Brendan's family in England held a fundraising event for SCOPE at a leisure centre near his home where Natalie's brother had a wax.
Natalie said Brendan's death also made her more aware.
She was terrified the same thing could happen to her own daughter Isabelle, who is now three, and got a baby monitor.
"One time I heard a strange noise on the monitor and when I went to check on her she was turning blue and was violently sick. It was later discovered she had gastroenteritis." Even though the concert is a year away Natalie is already promoting it.
She has applied to get onto Peter Andre's new television programme to highlight it and also plans to run a marathon next year to raise even more funds for the two charities.
She hopes to invite Anne Diamond, who also became involved in raising awareness of SIDS after her son, Sebastian, died from the syndrome in 1991. She fronted "back to sleep", a campaign telling parents to ensure that babies slept on their backs. Since then, there has been a significant fall in incidents of cot death in the United Kingdom, from more than 2000 per year to around 300, which has been attributed to the campaign.
For more details on next year's event visit www.masquerade2012.com