Raising money in memory of a special angel

Nicola Harrison and Rebcca Pendleton and, inset, Gabriel
Nicola Harrison and Rebcca Pendleton and, inset, Gabriel

NO parent should ever suffer the devastation of losing their child.

Tragically for Wigan mum Rebecca Pendleton, it’s an horrific pain she had to endure just eight days after her son Gabriel James was born last year.

Gabriel Pendleton

Gabriel Pendleton

After what had been a straight-forward pregnancy and labour, complications arose shortly after he was born at Wigan Infirmary at 6.17pm on May 8.

“Everything seemed fine but then they didn’t think he was moving,” said Rebecca.

“The midwife took him out my hands and they started resuscitating him. I remember having a lot of nurses around me and they took him away to try and find out what had happened. It was horrible, I just didn’t know what was going on, it didn’t feel real.”

Rebecca was told for several hours there was no update until around 11pm.

She was finally taken to see her little boy who had been placed in an incubator. Gabriel’s brain had swollen and he had struggled to breath meaning that his life was in serious danger. The doctors also needed to bring his body temperature back down to assess what damage had been done.

Gabriel was diagnosed as suffering from hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, meaning he had endured brain injury due to asphyxia.

What followed were days of torture for Rebecca and her family, not knowing what would happen to their precious little boy.

He was transferred to Bolton Royal Infirmary’s neo-natal unit where he was cared for by the staff.

“It’s just something you don’t think would ever happen to you,” she added.

“The nurses there were just amazing. There was always somebody with him, I never saw them eat or anything. One in particular, Wendy, was so wonderful.”

Gabriel was cared for at the unit until he sadly passed away on May 16. If he had survived, Rebecca was told he would have been severely disabled.

The pain of losing her little boy will never leave Rebecca, nor will the precious memories of the short time she had with him. The 26-year-old is determined to channel that into something positive and rather than be consumed by grief, she is now planning to do something for Gabriel each year.

Just a month after he died, she took part in a sponsored bike ride, raising £2,000 to build a private area for families at Bolton’s paediatric and neo-natal unit.

This year, she’s planning something slightly more taxing and on September 13, will take part in the Tough Mudder with friend Nicola Harrison. After I lost Gabriel, I also had a miscarriage but I was determined to not let it define my life,” said Rebecca.

“It would be easy to let grief swallow me up and sink into depression but I don’t want to do that. I’ve since changed my job and I’m looking to the future. Tough Mudder will be such a hard challenge but I’m looking forward to it. The nurses at Bolton do such an amazing job and I want to raise as much money as possible to help them.”

To sponsor Rebecca and Nicola, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/gabrieljamespendleton.