'We lost our daughter at just 30 days. Now we're helping every premature baby born in Nottingham'

Leanne and Ryan with Rosie who is laid in a hospital cot
-Credit: (Image: Supplied)

A Nottinghamshire couple whose daughter died at 30 days old have raised enough money to help every premature baby born in the city for an entire year. Leanne and Ryan, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, lost their daughter Rosie in March after she was born early at 24 weeks.

The couple have since raised more than £10,000 to buy hundreds of 'Miniboos', which are small cloth comforters provided to premature and ill babies. They say this will mean every baby cared for at the city's neonatal intensive care units (NICU) over the next year will receive one.

"We wanted to do something special for her in her name, we want to carry on Rosie's legacy," said Leanne, 37. "We want parents to have the same level of comfort that we had."

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The civil servant said the Miniboos help parents bond with their baby and can hide intrusive wires while laid in their cot. "It can be intimidating looking at a new born who's so fragile with wires coming out of them," she said.

"As soon as we had one it was a game-changer... it provided us with a lot of comfort." Rosie was born at King's Mill Hospital on February 15, and was described as a "miracle" by her parents, who had been trying for a baby for 10 years and had just started a first round of IVF.

Leanne with Rosie in the NICU
Leanne with Rosie in the NICU -Credit:Supplied

However, weighing only 1lb 7oz (652g), Rosie's parents were told to "expect the worse". She was transferred to the NICU at City Hospital, where she fought through issues such as sepsis, a bleed on the brain, collapsed lung.

"She seemed to take it all in her stride," said Leanne. Tragically, Rosie died on March 16 due to renal failure.

"She defied the odds in every way. Everything we anticipated to be a challenge she did the opposite and smashed it. She was stubborn like me and Rosie had the most beautiful red thick hair," continued Leanne.

"She made an impression on not only us but the doctors and nurses around her. The care they gave was absolutely magnificent.

"I can't explain how traumatic being in the NICU is but we had some really wonderful moments with our daughter. Not many parents get that and we had 30 days which was amazing.

"We obviously would've loved to get a life time with her but it wasn't meant to be." She said losing Rosie had been an "absolutely awful" time for her and Ryan, whose parents had died shortly before within six weeks of each other.

Ryan, a sports therapist, said the fundraising had been "something to focus on and keep our minds off it". The 39-year-old, who also plays for ice hockey team Nottingham Knights, said he was moved to hear fans chant "there's only one Rosie Perkins" on his first game back.

Ice hockey teams line up for the charity game at the National Ice Centre
A charity ice hockey game was held at the National Ice Centre -Credit:Leanne Litherland

"It came as a shock, it took me back," he said. Leanne added: "The only way we've got through it is with each other and our wonderful friends and family who have looked after us."

A charity ice hockey game was held at the National Ice Centre in Nottingham on May 25 which raised £3,571, meaning the fundraiser surpassed its target of £10,000. To give money to the fundraiser, which has so far received almost 300 donations, click here.