Don't let other families suffer as we have done, say Beechdale couple who lost baby daughter to rare condition vasa praevia
A COUPLE have raised more than £5,000 to raise awareness of the condition that killed their baby daughter.
Rachael and Jamie Bonser lost baby Abigail at just three days old on March 30, 2010, from a rare condition called vasa praevia, which is caused by the umbilical blood vessels crossing the birth canal.
It is believed around 500 babies a year die from the condition, which mothers are not routinely scanned for.
Since their daughter's death, the couple, of Elstree Drive, Beechdale, have been raising money for Vasa Praevia Raising Awareness, which campaigns for pregnant women to undergo scans to pick up the condition before birth in all hospitals.
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The Department of Health does not sanction this as a matter of routine and would-be parents can only be checked out if they are prepared to pay to be scanned privately.
Mrs Bonser, 32, said: "Abigail is never forgotten and always in our minds. Not a day goes by when I don't think of her.
"Anything we can do to raise awareness about this condition is the least we can do.
"If it stops would-be parents having to leave the maternity unit empty-handed, as I did, then it's worth it.
"It really is the worst feeling in the world."
Yesterday, the Bonsers attended a memorial service for their daughter at the chapel at Nottingham City Hospital. It was organised by the hospital's neonatal unit.
Just 11 weeks after Abigail's death, Mrs Bonser fell pregnant for a second time and, on March 1 last year, gave birth to Isabelle, who was not affected by vasa praevia and weighed a healthy 7lbs 5oz.
"Isabelle has made us happier but she knows and understands she once had a sister and recognises Abigail's photograph."
The £5,000 – which was raised through hosting quiz nights, charity parties and Mr Bonser taking part in two half-marathons – will go towards awareness leaflets and the costs of a telephone helpline for parents.
Mrs Bonser said: "Until scanning for vasa praevia becomes routine, 500 babies will die each year across England and Wales.
"I don't think anybody would think they have it. But I would say to anybody, go for a scan, ask them to check for it."
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