Baby Lucas – born 16 weeks early and weighing just 1lb 6oz – has inspired his dad to run the Great North Run to raise money for the neonatal unit where he is being cared for.

Allan Simpson and his partner Laura Mount were shocked to discover Laura was pregnant at 22 weeks. Just weeks later, Laura went into early labour and was rushed to Bradford Royal Infirmary by emergency ambulance. Little Lucas was born at 24 weeks on 24th June 2021.

“We have had six blood transfusions and an infection along the way,” said Laura. “It’s safe to say we have had our ups and downs. But Lucas is an absolute fighter and is getting stronger and bigger every day.”

Dad Allan is a keen runner and so decided to run the Great North Run on 12 September for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity’s BIG Neonatal Appeal. The appeal is raising money to create more parent accommodation, which will allow more parents to stay overnight on the unit, so they are close to their babies. It will also fund better facilities for parents to spend time outside with their babies, creating a real home-from-home for families.

Allan, who is an industrial cleaner, said the extra facilities and bedrooms would help his family a great deal, because they live in Skipton.

“We have had very long days. I usually get up at 4am to go to work and go to the hospital after work. Laura is there throughout the day. Of course, we would not change it for the world. We just can’t wait for Lucas to come home, but we know he will come home when he is ready. He’s in the right place now.

“Lucas has been in hospital for 10 weeks now and we are there every day. He’s making steady progress and now weighs nearly 5lb Everyone on the unit has been lovely.”

Laura added: “Becoming a mummy to a premature baby has been really tough on me, having him taken away straight into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and not being able to see him for three hours after he was born.

“Raising money for the Neonatal Unit is something I’m extremely passionate about, I can’t put into words how grateful I am. They have helped save our baby boy. I have had a lot of emotional days and the support the nurses have given me has been great. They are real life superheroes.

“Lucas has shown me how strong he is after everything and now I can’t wait to get him home and for him to finally meet his big brother Isaac!”

Allan said he hopes to finish the Great North Run in less than two hours, but his main aim is to raise as much money as possible.

Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “Allan and Laura know just how tough it can be to spend time apart from their baby, which is why they are so keen to raise money and help other parents just like them.

“We can’t thank Allan enough for taking on the Great North Run to raise money for our BIG Neonatal Appeal. Other parents will benefit from the money raised for a very long time to come.”

You can donate to Allan and Laura’s Just Giving page at

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ourboylucas

For more information about the BIG Neonatal Appeal and how you can raise money or donate, visit https://bradfordhospitalscharity.org/big-neonatal-appeal/

Mum and dad, Allan and Laura, with their baby son Lucas

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