A store director at Specsavers opticians in Runcorn has launched a £5,000 fundraising campaign in aid of a local hospital’s neo-natal unit after saying an emotional thank you to two nurses who provided life-saving care to his baby daughter.

Chris Graham, store director, led the applause as staff welcomed Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust staff nurses Julia Austin and Lynsey Arnold in to the store to celebrate the new charity partnership.

Julia and Lynsey personally cared for Chris’ daughter Sophia when she needed urgent care shortly after she was born at the hospital in September last year.

The entire Specsavers team were so moved by the unit’s work that they have decided to use the store’s 20th anniversary celebrations this year to recognise the maternity ward’s invaluable importance to the community and raise at least £5,000 towards new ventilators and monitors for the special care baby unit.

Life-saving care

Chris, who brought Sophia into store to meet Julia and Lynsey, says: ‘It means a lot to have the support of the team here on this campaign and we were thrilled to be able to welcome Julia and Lynsey into store to mark this partnership and, once again, say a huge thank you for the expert and invaluable care they gave my daughter.

‘Sophia was born last September weighing 7lb 12oz at 1.38am. She started to feed at 10.30am but then went blue and lifeless. She was taken straight to neonatal unit, put on a drip of antibiotics and in an incubator on oxygen for 36 hours.

‘She stayed in special care for a week of antibiotics and the nursing staff think she got an infection during labour.

‘She’s now fully recovered and a healthy happy baby but that is thanks to the wonderful care of the maternity ward team.’

To kick-start the campaign, the Specsavers team has already raised almost £500 thanks to the kind support of the generous Runcorn community. A further £250 was raised at Sophia’s christening last weekend.

Lynsey Arnold, neonatal sister, says: ‘We’re thrilled that Chris and the Specsavers team have chosen to use their exciting 20th anniversary celebrations to help raise this money towards further improving the services at the neo-natal unit.

‘We’re committed to ensuring that the babies being treated on the unit are provided with an excellent service, with their care always being our number one priority at all times.

‘Having the support of the local community makes the world of difference and it was wonderful to catch up with Chris and Sophia and to see how well she is doing.’

20th Anniversary

The Specsavers store will be raising money for the cause at all its in-store events held throughout the year as it marks two decades in the town.

Chris added: ‘This is a special anniversary and we wouldn’t still be here without our customers’ support so, on behalf of our team, I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has used our services or donated to our numerous charity campaigns.

‘We now have our sights set on the next 20 years and beyond.’

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