FAMILY and friends fundraising in memory of a baby who passed away aged just 19 days old have raised almost £15,500 in two months.

Ezrah Pollard, who was born on March 7 of this year, to parents Sarah Doolin and Craig Pollard from Newtown in St Martin, became unwell with Group Strep B and passed away on March 25.

Group B Streptococcus (GBS or Strep B) is the most common cause of severe infection in newborn babies, causing sepsis, pneumonia, or meningitis.

Since Ezrah's death friends and family of Sarah and Craig, a green keeper at Mullion Golf Club, have been fundraising in support of their efforts to create a lasting legacy for Ezrah, with others donating to a memorial fundraising page, So far £15,465 has been raised.

Sarah, an English teacher at Helston Community College, told the Packet: "We are incredibly moved by how much support we have received since launching Ezrah’s Much Loved page back in April.

"We have heard from so many people, some of whom we have not had contact with since childhood, and feel very lucky to be held and supported as we continue to process the painful and devastating loss of our baby."

Beautiful Ezrah

Beautiful Ezrah

Fundraising events so far include:

  • Sarah walking 60 miles in June with friends Chelsea Doolin, Kayleigh Barnes, Alison Olds and Bethany Pearson. Staff from Helston Community Hospital also completed 100 miles between them.
  • The Cornish singing group Odds 'n' Sods sang at the Queen's Arms, Constantine and raised £200. They will be singing again on Saturday, July 16 at The Top House Inn on The Lizard to raise further funds.
  • Ezrah's youngest cousin, Poppy Folds, currently in year six at St Michael's School, completed a duathlon and raised over £100.
  • Gunwalloe village held a cake sale during their Jubilee celebrations and raised £160.
  • Mullion Golf Club ran a competition in April that raised more than £600.
  • The Cerris Hulse spiritualist medium group on Facebook chose to fundraise for Ezrah and raised £560.
  • Bethany Pearson held a fundraiser in Leamington Spa and raised more than £200.

Ezrah's page on 'Much Loved' is in aid of two charities: The Grand Appeal funding Bristol Children's Hospital – including the Watch ambulance service that transported Ezrah to Bristol – and the Group B Strep Support charity working to eradicate group B Strep infection in babies.

Two babies on average develop GBS infection in the UK every day. Tragically one of those sick babies dies every week and one survivor is left with long-term disability.

Sarah added: "Since losing Ezrah in March, we have been told over and over again that others have never heard of Group B Strep, which highlights the lack of knowledge of this bacteria which is the biggest threat to life in new born babies.

"We hope that, in continuing to raise money and awareness, more people will have an awareness of this bacteria which is often harmless in adults but can become fatal to babies.

"Routine screening in the UK would be advantageous for mothers-to-be to know if they are carrying Group B Strep. In addition, knowing the signs and symptoms of infection is vitally important for when you are home from hospital with baby."

Early-onset GBS infection usually presents as sepsis with pneumonia. Typical signs to look out for include:

• Grunting, noisy breathing, moaning, seems to be working hard to breathe when you look at the chest or tummy, or not breathing at all.

• Being very sleepy and/or unresponsive.

• Inconsolable crying.

• Being unusually floppy.

• Not feeding well or not keeping milk down.

• A high or low temperature (if parents have a thermometer), and/or being hot or cold to the touch.

• Changes in their skin colour (including blotchy skin).

• An abnormally fast or slow heart rate or breathing rate.

Ezrah contracted late onset infection, which can develop from seven days of age to three months of age.

Typical signs of late-onset group B Strep infection are similar to early onset, but may also include signs associated with meningitis such as:

• Being irritable with high pitched or whimpering cry, or moaning.

• Blank, staring or trance-like expression.

• Tense or bulging fontanelle (soft spot on babies’ heads).

• Turning away from bright light;

• Involuntary stiff body or jerking movements.