Couple whose baby died at 10 days running the London marathon to raise money for NHS staff

Claire and Wayne hope to create something good in the memory of their little girl. (Picture: PA)

A couple whose baby daughter lived for just 10 days are running the London Marathon to fundraise for the ‘angels’ who cared for her in hospital.

Jade Nash’s heart stopped when she was born on January 9 at University Hospital Lewisham, in south-east London. Although staff managed to revive her, she died on January 19 at Demelza hospice, in nearby Eltham.

Named after the midwife who delivered her, Jade also spent eight days at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and her parents Claire Nash and Wayne Flanagan, both 34, praised the ‘amazing people’ they met during Jade’s short life.

The couple from Lewisham, who both had Covid when Jade was born six weeks before her due date, want kindness to be their daughter’s legacy.

‘She opened our eyes up to these amazing people,’ says Claire.

‘They are so selfless and they will do everything they can to ensure that loved ones can be together ahead of prioritising their health or their wellbeing.

‘The room full of people had put their lives on the line to save our little girl.’ (Picture: PA)

‘That’s really what we want to carry forward in Jade’s memory.

‘She opened our eyes up to these beautiful humans that I hope that we can continue to celebrate for as long as we live.

‘I just remember watching them thinking they’re almost like angels. I don’t know how they do it. They’re just beautiful, beautiful humans.’

The couple also praised the selflessness of staff who rushed in, despite the Covid risk, to deliver and revive Jade when her heart rate dropped.

‘The room full of people had put their lives on the line to save our little girl,’ says Claire.

Jade suffered Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) during her birth, which meant she had significant brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

The family gave her the nickname ‘Little Peacock’ before she was born. (Picture: PA)

Jade’s father Wayne said the family is fundraising for clinical psychologists so staff have somebody to talk to, and things like wellbeing hubs and tea trollies where midwives, nurses and doctors can go to debrief after demanding situations.

The Virgin Money London Marathon on October 3 will be the fourth challenge for Wayne, who also completed the Brighton Marathon on September 12 and will run the Goodwood Marathon on September 26.

He will also run the Little Peacock Marathon on September 19, along a route taking in the places where Jade spent her short life.

The couple and their son Elijah, five, used the nickname ‘Little Peacock’ before Jade was born, and Peacock became her middle name.

They will run the London Marathon in peacock-themed outfits.

‘There’s a lot of landmarks along the London Marathon race that have significance in Jade’s life,’ says Claire.

‘The evenings that we drove back from the hospital from Evelina, we would cross Tower Bridge to get to ours and obviously, that’s the halfway point for the London Marathon.

‘There’s a lot of landmarks along the London Marathon race that have significance in Jade’s life.’ (Picture: PA)

‘It’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster. I’m going to be a blubbering mess. But I’m really hoping that people will see Jade’s name on our shirts and shout Jade’s name and I think that’s going to give me a massive boost.

‘I remember when Jade passed, one of the early thoughts that I had is that I don’t want to get to the end of my time and look back and not appreciate the significance of what I feel she’s given and what she’s taught us.’

Jade suffered Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) during her birth. (Picture: PA)

Wayne said the couple also want ‘to show Elijah that it’s OK to be sad when sad things happen.’

‘But that also there can be some kind of good that comes with it.’

He started running regularly in January, and says it became cathartic.

‘I found it a way of channelling my grief, of starting to try to understand the emotions and feelings that I was experiencing,’ he explains.

Wayne says running has become a way for him to process his grief. (Picture: PA)

Wayne has since joined Kent AC running club which trains at Ladywell Fields running track in the shadow of Lewisham Hospital.

Margarita Vidiella, head of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity, says: ‘We are touched that, despite their huge loss, Claire and Wayne are thinking of others by running marathons in memory of their daughter Jade Peacock.

‘Their fundraising efforts will help us fund important staff wellbeing initiatives, such as improving rest areas for frontline staff, and we are truly grateful for everything they are doing.’

You can donate to the cause by visiting the couple’s online fundraising page.

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