Fundraising day to thank hospital staff

Tessa Jack, pictured in her bedroom with a photograph of her son, Takai, who died when he was six weeks old.  Picture: OX68791 Cliff Hide

Tessa Jack, pictured in her bedroom with a photograph of her son, Takai, who died when he was six weeks old. Picture: OX68791 Cliff Hide

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

SIXTEEN months ago, Tessa Jack faced every parents’ nightmare when her six-week-old son died.

Tiny Takai Omari Jack passed away because of a lack of oxygen to the brain following a cardiac arrest, on April 10, 2013, at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Now she hopes to raise £5,000 to say thank you to the hospital’s paediatric intensive care unit, whose staff she says did everything they could for her little boy.

Miss Jack, became a first-time mother aged just 19, said: “Never did I ever think I would lose my perfect baby boy after such a short time of having him in my life.

“It didn’t feel real for me at first, I almost felt like I’d just dreamed it all up.”

After being born on February 23, 2013, weighing 6lb 10.5oz, Takai was a “perfectly healthy” baby.

Miss Jack, now 21, said: “He was pretty quiet, he wasn’t fussy about who held him at all, but he didn’t like people touching his hands. I did have trouble getting him to feed at first, because he would just suck his lips instead of feeding.”

Then, one terrible morning, Miss Jack woke up to discover that Takai wasn’t breathing.

She called an ambulance and her baby boy was rushed to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

Miss Jack, who is currently living in the Windmill House hostel in Headington, said: “They resuscitated him, they got him stable, but just barely. He had two viruses. One by one his organs started failing. He spent his last few hours of life in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and was in hospital for 38 hours.”

Now the former Tesco checkout employee is using her painful experience to give back to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

She has arranged a family fun day to raise money for the care unit, and said: “They did try and do as much for him as possible.

“A lot of the doctors felt really intimidating, but the nurses were really sympathetic.

“They were trying so hard to keep him stable on the machine, even though his organs were rejecting it, so that I could say my final goodbyes in peace. I found them really inspirational.”

The family day will be held at St Luke’s Church in Canning Crescent on August 2 from noon to 5pm. Money will be raised by a small entry charge – 50p for a child and £1 for adults – and the proceeds from the food and games at the day.

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