News

Baby Coconut inspires family challenge

30 April 2019
Baby Coconut Curtis is inspiring his parents and a 26-strong team of their family and friends to raise £10,000 for Martin House by completing the Great North Run.

Coconut – who was named for his nickname during mum Kate’s pregnancy – was born two months prematurely on November 13th last year.

However, despite fighting for 38 hours and astonishing doctors by breathing over his ventilator, Coconut died due to bleeding on the brain, caused by the trauma of his birth.

Kate, 34, and her husband Adam, 37, were supported at Martin House in the days following his death.
Kate said: “A consultant at the hospital recommended we go to Martin House. We were a bit wary, because we didn’t know what to expect, and initially we wanted to go home to be with family.

“But as soon as we walked in it was a haven; everyone was so amazing.”

Kate and Adam, from Harrogate, were able to spend a few days at Martin House with Coconut in one of its special cooled bedrooms, and they continue to receive bereavement support from the hospice.

She added: “It means so much that we were able to bond with our baby, and they gave us a lot of help to start the grieving process. It just felt like home, there’s so much love there and it was really nice to have that time with him, to give him a cuddle when we wanted, and take a walk with him around the gardens.

“We were able to make memories to last a lifetime, which we wouldn’t have been able to do if we hadn’t gone there. We just never wanted to leave.”

Kate and Adam affectionately named their son Coconut as a result of his nickname. Kate said: “He was conceived while we were on our honeymoon in Hawaii, so throughout the pregnancy Adam called him Coconut.

“When Adam visited him in the special baby unit he just said ‘Hello baby coconut’, and he opened his eyes. The doctors were amazed.

“We wouldn’t have called him that had he lived, but it was the only name he knew, and to have called him something else would have been dissociative.”

The care Kate and Adam received at Martin House has inspired them to raise money for the charity, as well as increase awareness of the work it does.

Martin House cares for children and young people with life-shortening conditions, as well as supporting families in bereavement.

Kate said: “I think it was my dad who said we should do the Great North Run. Originally it was going to be him, Adam and me, but then my brother said he’d like to do it, and then my cousins said they’d like to run for Martin House, and then more friends and family said they would, and it just mushroomed really.”

Now Team Coconut are over £6,000 on their way to their £10,000 target. They also have a team of 20 people who will come along to cheer them along the route.

Kate said: “I don’t know what we would have done had we had to go straight home from the hospital – it would have been so damaging. That’s why we want to raise money and awareness of Martin House, to help other people who have lost children.”

Ellie Barker, fundraiser at Martin House, said: “We are incredibly touched and honoured that Kate, Adam and so many of their family and friends have chosen to support Martin House in memory of Coconut. We wish them all the luck in the world.”

People can support Team Coconut at the family’s Just Giving page – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/coconut-curtis