Life-saving legacy of baby Amber

Baby Amber, who died at the hospital when she was just five hours old

Baby Amber, who died at the hospital when she was just five hours old

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THE lives of countless babies in Wigan could be saved thanks to a kind-hearted dad.

Stephen Farnworth’s daughter, Amber, died at Wigan Infirmary in February 2011 when she was just hours old.

But rather than be defeated by the tragedy, the dedicated dad was determined to make something positive of the situation and so set out on a mission to raise enough money to buy a specialist piece of equipment.

And this week the ICE machine was handed over to Wigan Infirmary’s neo-natal unit.

The ICE machine lowers a person’s body temperature to a level that can limit neurological damage, because the oxygen demands of the brain and organs are decreased, and cell death is slowed when temperature is lowered.

This is the same kind of machine that Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba was put on following his heart attack on the pitch back in March.

It is thought that the machine could be the reason the player, who made an emotional appearance before fans on Wednesday, has made such a remarkable recovery since.

Mr Farnworth does not know whether this would have saved the life of his daughter if the facility had been available, but he wanted to do something to stop other parents going through what he and his wife, Annemarie Fitzgerald, have had to cope with.

He said: “It has been a hugely difficult time since losing Amber, but we’ve been so stunned with people’s generosity and at a time like this really shows you what a wonderful community we have around us.

“Being able to do something good from something that was so traumatic has meant a lot to us and going to the infirmary today to see the machine with Amber’s name on it was extremely emotional.

“We don’t want any other parents to go through what we went through so if this machine can save just one life then it’ll be worthwhile.”

Mr Farnworth raised £8,000 in less than a year and the hospital staff have managed to strike a deal so that they got an adult machine and children’s machine for just £10,000.

So it is not just youngsters that are set to benefit.

And the Bamfurlong man is not finished yet. He is now trying to raise cash to buy some machines that measure the vital signs of the baby.

To help fund the machines he is holding a Jubilee fun day at Maypole Community and Sports Bar, formerly Abram Labour Club, on June 4 followed by Amber’s fun day on June 24 at the same place.

He said: “People have been so generous throughout all of my fund-raising and I want to thank everybody that has helped in any way.

“I hope that the two fun days will be just as well supported and that the community comes together again for a great cause.”

Tickets are £2 and are available at the sports bar on Warrington Road.