The grandparents of a baby who tragically died after being born 15 weeks early are taking on a monumental challenge in her memory.
Kathy, 69, and Hugh Carmichael, 68, will cycle through the French Alps with their friends Steve Wilshaw and Christine Johnson, both 65, and the four plan to complete a number of challenges based on important figures from baby Chloe’s life.
Chloe Filipa Grace Calder was born on September 6, 2016 at 25 weeks gestation at St George’s Hospital in London. She developed chronic lung disease and despite the best efforts of the neonatal staff, passed away on November 27, 2016.
The group set off on June 1 and will cycle a total of 1565km – a figure based on Chloe’s weight in grams when she passed away, before climbing 12 mountain passes to symbolise the number of weeks Chloe lived and ascending 37,000 ft to symbolise Chloe living until 37 weeks gestation.
Christine, who only learned to swim two years ago, will also do an open water swim of 805m to represent Chloe’s birth weight in grams.
Bliss is a UK-based charity for premature and sick babies. One in every nine babies is born sick or premature in the UK every year. Bliss aims to provide the best care available for babies and their families while influencing policy and practice, and enabling life-changing research.
Kathy said: “There’s no denying [the cycle ride] is certainly going to be a challenge... but the legacy Chloe has left behind will give us that extra strength to achieve our goals.
“If we can get the message across to more people and raise some much-needed money for Bliss at the same time we will be more than satisfied.
“Chloe was a very special little girl and in her short life she showed us just how precious life is.”
Hugh said:“I’m slightly terrified about the challenge ahead, but very aware that whatever pain and discomfort we will suffer will be nothing compared to the experiences of the parents of premature and sick children, and the struggles of the babies themselves.
Lorna Carmichael, Chloe’s Mum, said: “My parents and their friends are lucky enough to be healthy in their retirement. For them to give up their time to do something so physically challenging and logistically complex to plan and complete is amazing. I often feel overwhelmed and quite emotional thinking of them doing such difficult things.
“Chloe's story has touched the hearts of many people and I love that her determination and resilience inspires others to push themselves further than they normally would. I feel proud. Proud of Chloe, and of my parents and their friends.”