A MUM whose little boy was very poorly when he was born will be part of a travel agent team doing a 16-mile sponsored walk to raise money for the special care baby unit which looked after him.
The four-strong team at Hays Travel in Rhyl will be pounding the pavement on July 22 when they embark on the lengthy walk from the seaside town along the coast to Llandudno in aid of Cuddles – the charity set up to support the SCBU at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan.
There putting her best foot forward will be mum-of-two Sinead Lloyd whose son Gino, now four, had to be treated there following an emergency caesarean.
Doctors became concerned when Gino wouldn’t feed and once he was taken into the unit, it was discovered he had Group B strep – a type of bacteria called streptococcal – which can be passed on from a mother during pregnancy, and he was also treated for suspected meningitis.
Travel consultant Sinead, 24, who also has a one year old daughter called Cecelia, said it was a heartbreaking situation to be in for a first time mother but praised the SCBU staff for the care they provided.
Hays Travel North West, which is the UK’s fastest growing independent travel agency, asks each of its stores to generate at least £500 for a chosen charity every year and doubles the total of the highest fundraising branch out of the 30 stores it has across North Wales and the north west.
Sinead, a former Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High School pupil who lives in Rhyl, said: “We wanted to do something a little bit different so we came up with this idea of walking from Rhyl to Llandudno.
“When we were picking our charity to support this year we wanted it to be a local one.
“Everyone at some point will have either experienced themselves or known someone whose child needed that extra special care.
“I know from personal experience what a fantastic job they do. My boy was in there for four days.
“As a first time mum that seemed like a lifetime and when you’re sitting in a ward with other mothers who have their babies with them it’s heartbreaking.”
Sinead was a week overdue with Gino and although initially everything was OK, alarm bells began to ring when he wouldn’t feed.
She said: “I had an emergency C-section at 9pm at night. Gino arrived and everything was fine.
“I tried to feed him but he wasn’t taking it. The doctor was called and he said we’ll have to take him into SCBU.
“Because I’d had a C-section and was unable to move I didn’t see him for seven hours. It was awful.
“When I was able to go down and see him it was a huge shock for me. He had tubes to get him feeding and they were treating him for Group B strep and suspected meningitis.
“I just broke down. When it’s your child it’s the worst thing in the world. Your emotions are running high.”
Sinead added: “When Gino first went in there he wouldn’t take any feeds but thanks to the wonderful staff they had him feeding by the time we left.
“They cleared him of the Group B strep and although he was treated for suspected meningitis and had to have fluid taken from his spine, thankfully he didn’t have it.
“He was in SCBU for four days in total and we eventually left hospital after ten days.
“Gino is a picture of health now. I just don’t think they are thanked enough which is why we want to raise money for the unit.”
Sinead has been with Hays Travel for just over six months having previously worked in Sales at the nearby Ty Mawr Holiday Park.
She said: “I love the job. I started with Hays when the Rhyl branch opened in December last year and it’s been really great.
“It’s such a good team here and we all get on really well. We’re all up for the walk and have decided we are just going to tackle it head on.
“We’re going to have some T-shirts made up and we’re aiming to complete the walk within five hours.”
Angela Hannah, senior staff nurse and Cuddles charity link nurse, has praised the staff at Hays Travel in Rhyl for raising vital funds.
She said: “We are really grateful to Hays Travel for choosing to raise money from their sponsored walk for our charity ‘Cuddles’ here at Glan Clwyd Hospital.
“It is great to get the support from our local community as we rely on this not only for donations but to maintain the profile of our charity.
“The charity has been built solely from the work of volunteers and the money raised will go to very good use with the purchase of much needed equipment and facilities that enables parents to stay in hospital with their baby whilst caring for them for long periods of time.
“The newly renovated Neonatal unit will have excellent parental facilities so we will work alongside parents in deciding what equipment will be most beneficial for them.
“So on behalf of the staff and families on the Neonatal unit we would like to say a big thank you and good luck on the day!”
To make a donation to the Hays Travel team in Rhyl visit