Local mum goes the extra mile for TinyLife charity

December 8, 2014

Local mum, Blaithin McCann took to the ground running recently as part of a marathon effort to raise much needed funds for TinyLife, Northern Ireland’s premature and sick baby charity.

The Crossmaglen woman went the extra mile – all 26 of them! – by completing the Budapest marathon on 13th October to raise funds for the organisation which is very close to her heart, following the premature birth of her twin sons, Finnian and Oisin in 2013.

The boys, who were born at just 33 weeks gestation, spent a total of 4 weeks in neonatal care between Craigavon Area Hospital and Daisy Hill Hospital.

It was during the boys time in Craigavon hospital that Blaithin first came into contact with the TinyLife charity, who she says provided vital support during an incredibly difficult time.

“Leaving hospital without the boys was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life.” says Blaithin,

“The services provided by the charity were of massive comfort to us during those early months.  They provided me with lots of literature and made the family areas in the hospitals a more comfortable and happy place to bond with our babies in every way we could.  They also organised a breast pump so that I could express milk which made me feel like I was doing something for them as a mother as everything else was in the hands of the doctors.”

Thankfully, after a very tough road, beset by medical setbacks, the boys began to thrive and, according to Blaithin, “once they started on the road to recovery, they never looked back.”

The twins are now 19 months old and are definitely keeping Blaithin on her toes.

“They’re flying now. They’re on their feet and running around and now I have the very welcome problem of wondering how I’m going to keep them from pulling my Christmas tree down! We are so delighted to have them fit and healthy and so appreciative of the help we and our family got from TinyLife.”

When Finnian and Oisin were finally discharged from hospital, Blaithin felt like she wanted to give something back to the charity and to other families who found themselves in a similar situation.

A keen runner who had already completed a marathon in 2012 for Southern Area Hospice, Blaithin decided to don her running shoes once again and set herself the massive challenge of running the Budapest marathon.

“It was the perfect thing to do for TinyLife,” says the generous mum,

“Training for it gave me some much-needed ‘me’ time again and running for a cause so close to my heart definitely spurred me on during the marathon and gave me the incentive to keep going.”

Blaithin certainly needed some extra incentive as, along with her two best friends who ran the marathon alongside her for their own chosen charities, she battled the blistering heat of a freak heatwave on marathon day which saw temperatures soar to as high as 30 degrees!

Having completed the mammoth challenge the Crossmaglen mum raised a fantastic £710.32.  All proceeds have been donated to TinyLife and this money will help the charity to continue to provide a wide range of family support services to local families who are affected by premature birth or sickness at birth.