Children’s physiotherapist Ceri Carless is running the Manchester Half Marathon to raise money to fund specialist cushions for babies in Bradford’s Neonatal Unit.

Ceri, who works in the Child Development Team at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is hoping to fund Zaky Hands. These are weighted, hand-shaped cushions which parents can use when they are not holding their baby. The cushions can be moulded around babies – many of whom are born prematurely – to feel as if they are being held, so they feel calm, soothed and protected.

Ceri said: “The Zaky Hands settle the baby’s heart rate, their breathing and so control oxygenation to ensure the optimal environment for the baby’s brain to grow and develop.

“My role as a physiotherapist in the Neonatal Unit is about prevention and educating parents. Pre-term babies have not had as much time in-utero, which is the best place for them. They have different needs to full-term babies and the Zaky Hands help parents get involved at what can be a very worrying time, recreating an optimum environment for the baby to develop.”

Ceri said the unit has successfully used the Zaky Hands in the past, but does not currently have any in use. At around £80 per pair, she hopes to fund as many as possible through her fundraising.

Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “We’re so proud of Ceri for raising money to support the babies and parents she works with. She plays such a vital role in the Neonatal Unit and her passion is admirable. The money she raises will make a big difference to the care our babies receive.”

Ceri said she’s excited to take part in the half marathon, which starts from Manchester city centre this Sunday, 10 October. Although she would like to finish in less than two hours, her main aim is to raise as much money as possible to fund the Zaky Hands.

You can donate to support Ceri by vising her Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/Ceri-Carless-1

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