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Bernadette Darcy - PFF winner

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Introducing our 2020 Pure Foundation Fund Winners

5 minutes

19/03/2021

WaterWipes is proud to announce that Kezia Alex, Emily Seddon, Aisling Dixon and Bernadette Darcy - four exceptional healthcare professionals working in neonatal and maternity services - have been awarded the first ever Pure Foundation Fund. Read more about their inspiring stories and incredible commitment to the new and expectant parents and babies in their care below.

Our UK Winners

Kezia Alex

Kezia Alex, a senior neonatal sister at Homerton University Hospital, was nominated by Rebecca Moodie, mother of 6-month-old Dylan, who was admitted into the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after being born prematurely, at just 24 weeks.

Kezia Alex of Homerton University Hospital – winner of the Pure Foundation Fund 2020

Explaining her story, Rebecca said, “When my husband and I presented at our local hospital at 23 weeks, we were told there was nothing that could be done for our precious baby boy, Dylan. Fast forward 6 months and we have a happy and healthy little boy who is thriving.”

Kezia helped the Moodie’s play an active role in Dylan’s care throughout his journey on the NICU, including talking them through simple daily tasks like changing his nappy. “For the first time, we felt like parents and were part of the story rather than just observers”

baby Dylan in NICU

Rebecca noted. Kezia continued to go above and beyond for the Moodie’s, arranging their first cuddle with Dylan and the opportunity for them to spend time together as a family, something that hadn’t been possible due to COVID-19 and social distancing rules.

Responding to the recognition, Kezia said,

I’m really overwhelmed and grateful for the recognition and the bursary fund, which will help to improve our unit and make life more comfortable for the new parents who spend so much time with us in those precious few months of their babies’ lives.

Kezia Alex

Emily Seddon

Consultant midwife trainee, Emily Seddon, was nominated by her colleague, Becky Parker, for delivering excellence in the provision of maternity services. In response to the UK’s first national lockdown in March 2020, Emily was tasked with developing a method of communication to keep families using the hospitals maternity services informed regarding changes to their care.

Emily Seddon – winner of the Pure Foundation Fund 2020 – with her colleague Becky Parker

She decided to create the Facebook page ‘Southampton Maternity Service’ providing open, honest, and timely updates related to changes in care. Now, with over 5,000 followers, it has become a vital platform and resource that not only signposts women to virtual antenatal education, referrals, and clinical advice, but provides much needed support, guidance and reassurance from the unit staff, at a time when many expectant mothers face the prospect of attending antenatal appointments, or even giving birth, without support from their partners or family.

Commenting on the announcement, Emily said, “Creating the UHS Facebook group has been a unique and rewarding opportunity. COVID has brought women closer to us than ever before – challenging us to adapt and rethink the way we deliver care. This platform has enabled us to build trusting relationships and provide much needed reassurance during a time of uncertainty.

I’m really proud of the work we’re doing, and I’m thrilled to receive this fund - it’s a fantastic recognition of the hard work and dedication consistently delivered by maternity professionals. I am so thankful to my colleague, Becky, for nominating me, and to WaterWipes for awarding this generous fund to help expand our birthing options for women.

Emily Seddon

Our Irish winners

Aisling Dixon

Aisling Dixon, a self-employed community midwife with the Community Midwives Association, was nominated by colleague and fellow midwife Nanni Schluenz. Aisling enables women to access homebirth as well as support them in the hospital for post-natal check-ups and appointments.

Nanni has described Aisling as a true champion of her profession and noted that she can be counted on day or night to support her colleagues, even while juggling two jobs and a master’s programme. Evidence-based care and woman-centred services are key tenets of Aisling’s work and she strongly believes in providing women the information they need to self-determine their choices in pregnancy. Nanni says “it is incredible what she gives to midwives, mothers and babies equally.”

Aisling Dixon - winner of the Pure Foundation Fund 2020

Responding to the announcement, Aisling said: “I am so grateful to Nanni, on behalf of my colleagues in the Community Midwives Association, for nominating me and to WaterWipes for this award. My love for normality in pregnancy and birth and breastfeeding began during my midwifery training and I remain very passionate about providing midwifery-led continuity of care to women. I am delighted that this bursary will help midwives support home births across the country.”

Bernadette Darcy

Bernadette Darcy, a midwife at Mayo University Hospital, was nominated by Michelle Filan for her support and caring nature during Michelle’s traumatic experience of suffering a brain aneurysm, following the birth of her son, which lead to memory loss. Bernadette went above and beyond comforting Michelle and aiding her recovery, even staying past her shift to care for Michelle. “Words can’t express how thankful we are to Bernadette during this worrying time,” says Michelle. “My Guardian Angel Bernie cared for me and my son Coby with dignity and respect.”

Overwhelmed by the award, Bernadette said: “I love my job, it is extremely rewarding and fulfilling. I'm also fortunate to work alongside an amazing team. Our patients are at the forefront of everything we do, so to be nominated for this award by a new mother that I cared for means so much to me. Thank you so much to the WaterWipes Pure Foundation Fund – this prize will go a long way in benefiting our department and the work that we do.”

Michelle Filan and Bernadette Darcy

About the WaterWipes Pure Foundation Fund

WaterWipes developed The Pure Foundation Fund bursary scheme to recognise and celebrate the incredible work of healthcare professionals involved in the pregnancy, birth and post-natal journey.

Kezia and Emily were selected as the UK winners by a panel of WaterWipes representatives, Caroline Lee-Davey Chief Executive of Bliss , the leading charity for babies born premature or sick, and expert midwife, Marie-Louise Hurworth. The judging panel were incredibly moved and inspired by the compassion, solutions-focused attitude and outstanding commitment to improving care, demonstrated by both winners.

Aisling Dixon and Bernadette Darcy were selected as the Irish winners by a panel of WaterWipes representatives and representatives from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and Irish Neonatal Health Alliance (INHA).

To celebrate their outstanding work, all our winners have been awarded a Pure Foundation Fund plaque and £2,500 / €2,500 for their department to continue to improve the care of parents and babies.

WaterWipes would like to congratulate all the winners and thank those who nominated a healthcare hero. The WaterWipes Pure Foundation Fund will return later this year so for regular updates sign up to our healthcare newsletter or visit the homepage.

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