Poorly Hartlepool baby’s plight inspires big fundraising drive

Connie Young with her Dad David and Mam Helen Dawson. Photograph by FRANK REID
Connie Young with her Dad David and Mam Helen Dawson. Photograph by FRANK REID
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A Hartlepool baby’s battle against a rare bowel disorder inspired supporters to raise more than £5,000 for families in similar circumstances.

Eight-month-old Connie Young was diagnosed with Hirchsprung’s disease shortly after she was born which means her bowels do not work as they should do.

Connie surrounded by some of the presents bought for Ward 9.

Connie surrounded by some of the presents bought for Ward 9.

Connie’s parents Helen Dawson, 32, and David Young, 33, of Bishop Cuthbert, Hartlepool, launched a fundraising drive for Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary to thank staff for the care they received and to help other families.

A grand total of £5,035 was raised from a series of fundraisers including a coast to coast bike ride led by welder David.

Helen, an English teacher, said: “We are absolutely over the moon. When we started out we said we would love to make £1,000 and didn’t think we would get that at the beginning.

“We couldn’t believe how generous and supportive people have been.”

We couldn’t believe how generous and supportive people have been

Helen Dawson

Connie’s family organised a fundraising night at the Corporation Club, in Whitby Street; neighbours threw a street party in the summer; and coffee mornings were held by TJ Hughes where Helen’s mum works and by workmates of Helen’s at Dyke House Sports and Technology College.

Proceeds from a stall at the school’s Christmas fair and a £250 donation from David’s employers Cape Industries also boosted the fund.

Helen and David divided the money equally between the Sick Children’s Trust which runs Crawford House, a home from home for family members while children are undergoing treatment at the RVI.

The other half is going to the hospital’s Ward 9 that specialises in digestive problems.

Helen and David sent £500 of the money on a host of gifts that were on the ward’s wish list of items.

Helen added: “They asked for a lot of Christmas things and we also bought them physio mats for babies.

“There is a room on the ward they are trying to make more communal. We also bought some stuff for parents to use and just try to make everybody’s life a bit easier.”

Connie was unexpectedly rushed to hospital when she was just one day old after becoming sick. She was later diagnosed with the condition, which affects just one in 5,000 babies and spent six and a half weeks in hospital.

Connie is due to undergo her second operation this week.