A big-hearted schoolgirl has used all her pocket money to buy CD players and discs for Walsall’s Neonatal Unit which is caring for her baby sister – ten years after she was looked after there herself.
Hollie Kendall decided to “help all the babies” after realising there weren’t CD players for everyone on the unit.
Her sister Chloe, born at 26 weeks and weighing less than a bag of sugar, is currently in the unit and the family discovered there was only one CD player available when they asked if Chloe could have some music on.
Hollie’s mum Emma explained: “Hollie earns pocket money for doing various chores such as emptying the bins and the dishwasher and we’re trying to encourage her to save from an early age.
“She told me she wanted to use it to buy CD players and nursery rhyme discs to help all the babies and was worried about telling her dad Craig because he’d always said she wouldn’t have any more pocket money if she just spent it all.”
Craig, a petrol tanker driver, aged 44, said: “When she told me what she wanted to do of course I said go ahead and you will still have pocket money when you’ve done it! She had saved £250 and the fact that she wanted to do something like this is just so typically Hollie. I am biased but she is such a good kid, so generous and always thinking of others and wanting to help people.”
Hollie herself was born at 27 weeks, weighing two pounds and 1 ounce, and was the first baby born that prematurely who was cared for on Walsall Manor Hospital’s Neonatal Unit back in 2012.
“At that time there was a lot of concern about a baby born quite so early,” said Emma, 40, who has an incompetent cervix which was diagnosed following the birth of her son. The couple have sons Ryan 16 and Jack 15.
“Medical knowledge and research have really developed since Hollie’s birth and when Chloe was born prematurely we were still worried but know things have changed so much over time and that doctors and nurses have much more experience of such premature babies now.”
Hollie, who attends New Invention Junior School in Willenhall where the family live, hopes to be a teacher or a nurse herself in future.
She said: “There was only one CD player and I thought that was shame for the other babies because Chloe liked having nursery rhymes to listen to and I didn’t want them to miss out.
“I’m looking forward to her coming home.”
Craig and Emma say support from staff – following both Hollie’s and Chloe’s birth – has been “amazing.”
“With Hollie we didn’t know what to expect and we were scared but the staff were amazing and really connect with you,” said Craig. “This time round we might be more used to some things but we still need their support and are grateful for everything they’ve done for Chloe.”
The family hope Chloe might be allowed home this week with oxygen.