The Pavers Foundation has donated £2,700 to Group B Strep Support (GBSS) following a grant application from Clare Wright, Store Manager at Jones Bootmaker in Norwich, who wanted to show support for the charity which supported her at a very difficult time in her life. This is Clare’s story.
In 2000, Clare lost her son Callum at just 11 days old.
Callum was born 5 weeks premature. Clare was informed the following day that she was carrying a bacteria called Group B Strep (GBS) but the hospital didn’t feel that Callum was at any risk and Clare was able to take Callum home.
Just over a week later Clare began to have concerns about her son after he didn’t wake for a feed and began making unusual noises. Clare took Callum into A&E but, once again, the hospital felt that there was no reason to be concerned and Clare returned home with her son. Still concerned, Clare decided to call her midwife for advice. A couple of hours later Callum was back in hospital, this time in the children’s ward, where he was finally diagnosed. He had a Group B Strep infection. Despite being immediately moved into the special care baby unit and being given strong antibiotics and other drugs, Callum passed away the next day from sepsis.
The family was devastated.
Clare felt terribly let down by the hospital which hadn’t provided any information, either during her pregnancy or after Callum’s birth, about the infection. She began a search to find out answers and this is when she came across, and reached out to, Group B Strep Support. This charity was started by Jane Plumb following the death of her own baby son, to support other families in similar situations and raise awareness of Group B Strep.
“Group B Strep Support were amazing when we lost Callum, they gave us emotional support whenever we needed it, helped us understand the ins and outs of the infection he died from, and ways we could help raise awareness to other parents so the same didn’t happen to them.”
Group B Strep Support helped Clare understand how preventable most group B Strep infections are. While Callum’s infection could not have been prevented, with a leaflet from their midwife and quick action from the hospital their story might have been very different. That’s when Clare and her family knew that they wanted to help raise awareness of this terrible infection so that other families could be spared the pain they had felt.
“We shared our story with local TV and newspapers, took GBSS leaflets and posters to all our local medical centres and hospitals, and held various fundraising events to raise money.”
Twenty years later Group B Strep is the UK’s most common cause of serious infection in new-born babies; in the UK one baby loses their life to the infection every week.
“20 years on most people I chat to about what happened to us have never heard of GBS. We still do not test women for this through the NHS, although private testing is available. Women, late in their pregnancy, can be tested for the infection, which can then be treated whilst the mother is in labour, preventing the baby from harm. Expectant parents need to know it’s available so that they can act.”
We are delighted that this donation is being used to fund Group B Strep Support to attend, exhibit and present at three maternity conferences across the UK this year to inform and educate health professionals about the infection.
Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive:
“We’re delighted to receive this generous £2,700 donation from the Pavers Foundation. These funds will enable us to share lifesaving information and guidance on how to prevent group B Strep infection with midwives and other health professionals. Group B Strep is the UK’s most common cause of serious infection in new-born babies, and we know that midwives, obstetricians and GPs are the most important advisors for parents making decisions around Group B Strep so need the highest quality information for the families in their care.”
To find out more about GBSS please visit https://gbss.org.uk/