Town Clock lit purple for babies like Pippa

16 November 2016

Pippa Holden was born eight weeks early and unable to breathe for herself. Now she is a thriving five-year old who has not looked back from her scary and early arrival.


Pippa Holden was born 8 weeks early

Pippa Holden was born 8 weeks early

If you are driving through Gisborne city in the evenings this week you will notice that the Town Clock has been lit purple. This is to acknowledge World Prematurity Day (Thursday 17 November) and raise awareness of the 15 million babies worldwide who are born prematurely each year.

The Gisborne Town Clock joins notable landmarks around the world ‘lighting up purple’ to raise awareness including Niagara Falls, and the Empire State Building in New York.

Pippa’s mum Sarah is eternally grateful toward the Neonatal Team at Gisborne Hospital for the skill, hard work and love they showed towards her family. “Their specialist skills helped our precious baby girl. Pippa needed humidified oxygen and was fed hourly through a nasogastric tube. We spent the next five weeks admitted under the care of Neonatal Unit who cared for our baby 24/7 and guided us into parenthood (even correcting dad when he put a nappy on backwards).”

In Gisborne last year 54 preterm babies were born. The day aims to raise awareness about the issues associated with preterm birth and what can be done to prevent babies being born too early.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking and obesity are some of the conditions that increase the risk of giving birth prematurely.

According to the World Health Organisation in 2015, for the first time, the complications of preterm birth outranked all other causes as the world’s number one killer of young children. Premature birth is a serious problem.

Preterm or premature birth is a birth before 37 completed weeks gestation, compared to the usual 40 weeks. One in ten babies in New Zealand arrive prematurely and over 5,000 families go through the stress of a neonatal journey each year. Babies who survive an early birth often face health challenges such as breathing problems, difficulty establishing feeding, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, vision and hearing loss as well as many other hurdles.

The Gisborne Neonatal Unit is celebrating World Prematurity Day with afternoon tea provided by volunteers from the Neonatal Trust New Zealand.

Hauora Tairāwhiti would like to take this opportunity to thank all the talented knitters and quilters that so generously donate amazing quilts and beautifully knitted hats, booties, singlets and cardigans to the Gisborne Hospital Neonatal Unit. If anyone would like to donate wool it would be much appreciated, and can be left with the Friends of the Hospital at the main reception desk near the cafeteria or in the Neonatal Unit, at the Gisborne Hospital.