IT firm helping parents keep in virtual contact with hospital ward

A Cramlington company is helping dozens of parents keep in virtual contact with their poorly babies at a Newcastle hospital.

By David Sedgwick
Friday, 12th November 2021, 8:00 am
Two of TruStack's six directors, Russell Henderson and Paul Watson, with Rachel Hardwick, from Tiny Lives.
Two of TruStack's six directors, Russell Henderson and Paul Watson, with Rachel Hardwick, from Tiny Lives.

In 2019, IT managed services business TruStack set out to raise money for its charity of the year, the Tiny Lives Trust, to help fund its vCreate service.

vCreate allows parents and families to receive real-time, video updates on their premature and poorly babies at the Neonatal Unit at the RVI Hospital.

Despite all the company’s fundraising activities being cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it still managed to raise £7,200 through some inventive virtual fundraising events and ideas.

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A nurse uses the vCreate software to share updates on a poorly baby with family.

Rachel Hardwick, funding and partnerships officer at Tiny Lives, said: “Being able to see videos from the ward of their little ones has been absolutely vital for parents who have been isolating, and when there have been restrictions on visiting.

“It has always been an important service, but it has really come into its own during the pandemic.

“TruStack has been absolutely phenomenal in its support of our charity.

"The company has managed to continue fundraising in such inventive ways to keep up its pledge, and we are so grateful.

“It would have been easy for them to say ‘sorry, we have our own stuff going on, we’ll see you when the pandemic is over’, but they didn’t.

"They went above and beyond to make sure they could keep raising money for us.”

The partnership between TruStack and Tiny Lives came about after the charity helped two of the company’s directors through difficult times.

Both Paul Watson and Russell Henderson were supported by the charity, and the pair have been wanting to pay it back ever since.

Paul’s daughter Niamh, now 20, spent over a month in the Neonatal Unit when she was born five weeks prematurely, weighing just 3lbs.

Dad-of-two Paul said: “Having a baby is stressful enough but when unexpected events happen and your new-born needs medical assistance it is terrifying.

“When my daughter was born prematurely, Tiny Lives provided first-class care for the first few weeks of her life.

"The staff could not do enough to help my daughter as well as myself and my wife.

“We feel very grateful for the care they provided many years ago and very much wanted to give something back.

“As an IT company the vCreate system seemed like a natural choice; using technology to help families keep in touch and see their babies when they may not be able to physically get to the ward during potentially difficult times.”

Russell’s son Mattie, now 12, spent around seven weeks in the RVI when he was born.

Russell said: “The service offered to us at the time by Tiny Lives when my son was in SCBU helped take a part of the stress out of the situation, and when babies have major complications, any help in reducing the stress is welcome.

“I know what it is like to spend long periods of time in hospital with a poorly baby.

"For those parents who live a long distance from the hospital and their child is in hospital for a long period of time, this service is invaluable.

"We are proud to be able to support Tiny Lives.”