NEWTON Stewart parents Georgie and Andrew Peden have donated a very special blanket to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary (DGRI) following a year-long fundraiser in memory of their son.
Throughout 2023 the couple completed all 40 walks from the Galloway 40 Coastal & Country book, climbed to the summit of Ben Nevis at night in August, participated in the Edinburgh Kilt walk in September and trekked for four days through the Sahara, up and over the Chegega Dunes to fundraise for a ‘Cuddle Blanket’, in memory of their 17-month-old baby son Lewis who died in November 2022, and in support of others facing a loss like theirs.
Their initial goal was to raise £11,000: £5500 for a Cuddle Blanket and £5500 for CHAS (Children’s Hospices Across Scotland).
But through their efforts, with tremendous family, friends and community support, and via a dedicated Facebook page – For the Love of Lewis – they exceeded their target, reaching £18,000.
Staff gathered at DGRI to accept the cuddle blanket that makes it possible for parents of older babies and children to spend time with them after they have died. The unit already has a cuddle cot for newborn babies and this is the first time they have had a cuddle blanket.
Speaking of the Cuddle Blanket, Georgie said: “It means so much to us to be able to give the cuddle blanket to staff from the paediatric unit at DGRI. We were very well supported by Lewis’s medical team, particularly at the end of his life. This piece of equipment will help the team extend that support further by providing more options to families.
“It will give families who find themselves in the heart-breaking position of needing time with their child. Without the cuddle blanket their child would be taken to a morgue or funeral home soon after they pass away. The cuddle blanket means families can be with their child in a hospital ward, or at home, in a comfortable and peaceful environment so that they can move at their own pace.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped and supported us in not only reaching our target sum but exceeding it by so much. We can hardly believe the huge sum raised, all of which will go towards helping other families who lose a child. It’s an incredible amount.”
Kirstine Burns, of SCN Children’s Ward NHS Dumfries and Galloway, added: “We’re so happy to accept this cuddle blanket for our ward. This means our staff can offer families so much more in terms of time and space with their child after they have passed away. Mr and Mrs Peden sadly had to face the devastating loss of their child Lewis and know the difference this can make. It’s amazing what they have done for other families and we’re so grateful to them.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to them from the staff on the Children’s Ward at DGRI, and to everyone who supported their fundraising.”