A grateful mum from Hereford has been named as this week’s charity champion after taking on an immense challenge for Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity, which saw her climb three mountains, kayak 42 miles and cycle 75 miles and raise over £7,000 in the process.

After life-saving treatment by doctors and nurses saved her unborn daughter’s life, 30-year-old Claire Jackson felt compelled to say thank you. A year after baby Olivia was born, Claire laced up her hiking boots to scale the three peaks of Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales but she didn’t stop there. Over the course of seven days, along with her sister Jenny Spencer, Claire also cycled and kayaked numerous gruelling miles in each region, knowing it was only a fraction of what her daughter had been through. 

At 32-weeks-pregnant, Claire had a routine placenta check scan that revealed that there was a small amount of fluid building up on her baby’s chest. Claire was instantly referred to the Fetal Medicine unit at Birmingham Women’s Hospital where specialists confirmed the abnormality. Claire and her husband, Haydn were devastated. As the fluid continued to the build-up, the doctors were concerned that it would put too much pressure on her baby Olivia’s heart and so they agreed that Claire would undergo a complex procedure to drain the fluid while Olivia was still in the womb. 

Whilst the fluid was successfully drained, just a week later doctors discovered it had returned.  This time the doctors warned that if they repeated the procedure they would have to deliver Olivia by emergency C-section straight afterwards. Claire was only 36-weeks pregnant and the news was unexpected and overwhelming, but she knew she had to take the doctor’s advice and give her baby the best chance of getting better.

Just a couple of days later, Claire underwent the second procedure and baby Olivia was born and was put straight onto a ventilator to help her breathe. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all smooth sailing from there, as Olivia had to have a chest drain fitted to relieve her of the fluid that continued to build up inside of her, and had also developed jaundice. In the end, doctors decided they had to remove all milk feeds and place Olivia on a long line as a last attempt to stop the fluid and luckily she started to improve.  Eventually, after weeks of care and treatment in the hospital’s Neonatal ward Olivia started to get better and became well enough to go home.

Now Olivia is a happy, healthy one-year-old with no long-term conditions and Claire is committed to giving back to the hospital that cared for her little girl.

Claire said: “When we first found out our baby was poorly it was like hitting a brick wall and I just felt so helpless, but we’re so lucky to have such a specialist hospital right on our doorstep and the Fetal Medicine and Neonatal teams at the Women’s Hospital are the best at what they do.

“As well as a thank you to the hospital and all of the amazing staff, the challenge gave me something to focus on and help me recover both physically and mentally. It was an emotional rollercoaster, and my body ached like never before, but I had no doubt in my mind that nothing would be as tough as what Olivia had been through.”

Miranda Williams, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity, said: “It must have been absolutely devastating for Claire to find out that her baby was so poorly whilst she was still pregnant, but thanks to the incredible care and cutting-edge technology and procedures used by our Fetal Medicine team, Olivia is here today.

“Claire and her sister Jenny really went above and beyond in their fundraising for us and the money they have raised will go towards making sure that we can continue supporting women, babies and families just like theirs.”