Fundraiser to buy Cuddle Cot for Friends of Coombe

By Aura McMenamin

Crough’s Pub in Tallaght held a charity darts tournament recently, with the proceeds going to a precious service in the Coombe Hospital.

Twenty-eight players put their best foot forward – and some even dyed their hair – to fundraise for the Friends of the Coombe charity.

Croughs Darts fundraiser collage edit 05102017

Parents Steve and Louise Murphy are raising money to buy extra ‘Cuddle Cots’ for the Coombe Hospital, which will allow other bereaved parents to spend extra time and make memories with their babies who die during or soon after pregnancy.

The cots are modelled after traditional moses baskets. They have a thin mattress which is filled with cold water and then connected to a cooling unit which is plugged in, keeping the mattress constantly cold. The blanket can also be taken out and moved into a different cot or surface if the parents wish.

Parents can stay with their child for an extra three or four days before their condition deteriorates.

The cause is one close to the Murphys’ heart, as they experienced their own tragedy last October, when their son Tommy died soon after he was born as a result of a fatal foetal abnormality.

Mother-of-three Louise said she preferred not to specify what Tommy’s condition was, but said she knew 22 weeks into the pregnancy that it wouldn’t be viable.

“I suppose we were lucky because we knew the options. We knew he wouldn’t survive but I decided to carry the pregnancy to term.

“In the end, I got 32 minutes with him before he passed. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.”

The Murphys were able to bring Tommy home in the Cuddle Cot and introduce him to his siblings. Louise said: “My youngest daughter had brought pictures of the house to the hospital to show Tommy where we lived, and she was so excited to bring him into all the rooms.

Tommy’s first birthday was on October 9. The Murphy’s are raising money to buy three cuddle cots in Tommy’s memory.

Each cuddle cot costs €2,500, with a €500 maintenence fee for each year.

The Murphys decided that if we were going to raise money for a cuddle cot, that they wanted to be able to afford the maintenance fee for one year.

Louise said: “When we received our cot the family of another baby had put a plaque on it. We’re hoping to have a plaque that says it was donated in memory of Tommy Murphy.”

Louise said that although the Murphys haven’t always found it easy to cope with Tommy’s death, their fundraising has allowed them to positively channel their experience into something that will help other parents who expierence stillbirth or neonatal death.

In September, they held a family walk in Marlay Park for their children and their cousins, which raised €2,000.

On October 20, the Murphy’s will host a night of music in the Plaza Hotel as their next fundraiser.

The Murphys also have a GoFundMe page, which has so far raised over €1,400.

At Saturday’s dart tournament, which included Shave or Dye, Louise estimates they raised €1,540.

The Murphys were helped by friend and darts tournament organiser Tosh Donohoe.

Louise said: “We want to give a massive thanks to Tosh. It’s also great to see the dart-playing community come together.

“My husband plays darts, and when he told the players what we’re doing, these men, who wouldn’t have known what a cuddle cot is or how important it was, really came together to support us.”

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