Heroic mum raises £24k for premature babies fund after her own daughter’s early fight for life

Amanda and her daughter Tabitha.
AMANDA Rutherford was inspired to start a fund for premature baby units after seeing her own daughter's battle for survival when she was born three months early. A MUM whose premature baby survived against all odds has raised more than £24,000 to help other tiny tots. Amanda Rutherford and her husband Brian feared the worst when she went into labour three months early. Born at just 24 weeks, their daughter Tabitha weighed only 1lb 8oz. Amanda kept a vigil by her baby’s side at the neonatal unit in Stirling for the next 22 weeks and her little fighter pulled through – and today she’s grown into a happy, smiling six-year-old. Amanda, 45, said: “When I first saw Tabitha, I just wanted to hold her but, because she was so small and fragile, I couldn’t.” When she was finally allowed to take her precious bundle home, the grateful mum wept tears of joy. And her girl’s brave fight for life inspired her to set up the Tiny Tabitha Fund. Amanda, who took part in the Queen’s Baton Relay in Larbert, Stirlingshire, earlier this week, started the fund to celebrate her daughter’s first birthday.
Tiny Tabitha in her incubator after being born prematurely.
She said: “So many family members donated money to give to the neonatal unit. “But as the funds came in, my son, John, suggested buying some equipment rather that just sending a cheque. “So we asked the nurses directly what they felt would benefit the unit.” Since then, child and family worker Amanda and her team of volunteers – including her son John Blackhall, 26, who ran a marathon for his little sister – have continued to raise funds. The money has been used to buy equipment and pay for special training for nurses at the neonatal unit, which has since moved to Forth Valley hospital in Larbert. Bonnybridge Primary pupil Tabitha still has to rely on an oxygen supply a lot of the time due to the damage to her underdeveloped lungs when she was born. The bubbly girl said: “I like going in to visit the unit. “The babies are really small and my mum tells me that I was a tiny baby once.” ● Donations to the Tiny Tabitha Fund can be made over the counter at any RBS branch from Monday or at www.gofundme.com/arg288
Sourcehttp://www.dailyrecord.co.uk, 29th June, 2014
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