The mums of a tiny ‘superhero’ baby born weighing barely more than a bag of sugar, are taking on a major Sheffield Hospital’s Charity fundraiser to thank city doctors for their care. 

Michelle Hawley, aged 37 and her fiancée Claire Crane, aged 34, both from Woodseats, are so grateful for the months of life saving care doctors and nurses at the city’s Jessop Wing gave to their severely premature daughter Megan, they have decided to enter the charity’s Jessops Superheroes event. 

Megan was born weighing just 2lb 9oz after just 27 weeks of pregnancy, after a dramatic rush to hospital on the night her mums announced their baby news to their friends. 

Michelle said: “At 24 weeks gestation we were out with friends to announce Claire’s pregnancy, when her waters broke. An ambulance ride to triage and a nervous hour of examinations, tests and scans and our world changed forever. 

“The doctors confirmed Claire had lost most of her waters. They were kind but honest - if the baby arrived now there were no guarantees. The silver lining was that although Claire’s waters had broken there was currently no sign of labour. She was admitted for monitoring and given steroid injections to help the baby’s lungs grow in case labour started.

“The next day was a blur. A doctor from the Neo Natal Unit (NNU) came to see us to explain what would happen if the baby arrived now, the risks, the chances of survival and offered us a chance to look round the unit.

“The Sheffield Hospitals Charity funded nurse, Sandra Brown, was a great support. She talked us through what would happen when the baby was born, answering all of the questions we’d had churning round our heads without us having to ask. As daunting as it was, we both left feeling a little reassured that if the baby arrived they would be well looked after.

“Claire was kept in for five days. During that time the baby showed no signs of arriving but we wanted to stop referring to the baby as ‘it’ or ‘they’ or ‘the baby’. A scan showed we were having a little girl, so we decided to call her Megan.  

“Megan managed to hang on for three weeks. She was born on 9 December 2016 at just over 27 week’s gestation. I was able to cut the cord, take a picture and we both got to touch her tiny hand. She was placed in a plastic sandwich bag to protect her fragile skin, placed on an open incubator and was immediately intubated to help her breathe.

“Nothing can prepare you for the first time you walk through the automatic doors and see your child fighting for life. Megan was born with infection in her already tiny lungs and had a really tough start. Parts of her lungs kept collapsing meaning she was on very heavy ventilation to try to open them up. 

“We filled our days sitting with her, reading to her and the nurses gently encouraged us to get more and more involved in looking after her and how to change her nappy and her bedding. The doctors spoke to us every day about how Megan was doing and took the time to explain some very complicated medical terminology so we could understand it. 
“Megan’s journey through NNU was not an easy one. As well as her lung complications, at nine days old she needed emergency surgery to correct a perforated bowel. The day she came off the ventilator was the first time we got to hold our baby girl was a moment we had waited five weeks for, and one that made all the stress and every tear and sleepless nights worth it.

“We stayed at the NNU for the first four months of Megan’s life. We were then transferred to the High Dependency Unit at Sheffield Children’s Hospital where we stayed for another two months before we were discharged and were able to take Megan home just before she was six months old.

“During Megan’s first year she had nine admissions and two further operations. Megan is still on oxygen and will be for some time but it’s not holding her back and she is now a happy, cheeky 15 month old little girl.  We couldn’t be prouder of her and will never be able to thank the staff at Jessops enough for saving our little miracle.

“The staff at Jessops became like friends.  They were a constant support, picking us up when we were down and making us smile, keeping us positive, showing us how to look after our little girl in the most unusual of circumstances, making sure we understood what was happening with Megan at every stage. They not only saved our little girl time after time, but they looked after us and made sure we got through the toughest experience of our lives. 

“Megan will always be our superhero, but the staff at Jessops are equally deserving of that title for all they do for the sickest of babies and their families.  We want to finally be able to do our bit to raise awareness of a wonderful unit and help them raise some much needed funds.”

To raise funds to help improve the care and treatment of babies and their families at the Jessop Wing, Sheffield Hospitals Charity is hosting its fifth annual Jessops Superheroes event, which has now raised more than £90k in the last four years.

This year’s event, promises to be bigger and better than the last, and all involved are encouraged to wear superhero costumes to celebrate the NHS heroes who care for and save the lives of  Sheffield’s tiniest patients every day.

Jessops Superheroes (formally Jessops Buggy Push), sponsored by Dutton International, is a 2.5k family walk which takes place on Sunday 10 June 2018 at Graves Park at 10.30am. There is a £15 minimum sponsorship for all who take part. All who take part will be given a free superhero bib or cape.

For more information, or to register, visit email [email protected] or call 0114 226 7351. 

To sponsor Michelle, Claire and Megan, visit