Emily Davis’s commitment to Silver Star, the specialist maternity unit at the John Radcliffe, knows no bounds.

Emily has been a keen supporter of the Silver Star Maternity Fund for many years, after her first baby was born at just 27 weeks weighing only 560 grammes. 

And this October, after years of other fundraising events, she is going the distance by running the London Marathon for the cause that is so close to her heart. 

The Silver Star Unit is based at the Women’s Centre in John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. It provides specialist care for more complex pregnancies, caring for around 500 pregnant mothers and their unborn babies every year.

The unit is supported by the Silver Star Maternity Fund, which is part of Oxford Hospitals Charity, and provides state-of-the-art medical equipment and specialist research as well as support for the wider maternity services in the John Radcliffe.

Emily was first introduced to the specialist unit back in March 2003, when at 24 weeks into her pregnancy, she was diagnosed with early onset pre-eclampsia and rushed into hospital.

Talking about her experience, Emily said, “I was very frightened, confused and totally bewildered, but I immediately felt in safe hands.  The lovely staff and the whole team were so obviously brilliant at their jobs and completely used to my complex pregnancy.”

They monitored Emily’s health every four hours, adjusting her medication accordingly, and scanning the baby daily to keep the pregnancy going as long as possible.

She explains: “It was such a relief to know that I was being looked after so thoroughly and that nothing would be missed. Professor Chris Redman explained that they could normally keep mothers going for 2-3 weeks from arrival and that every additional day was crucial.”

When the medication couldn't be increased anymore without damaging the baby, little Kate was born at 27 weeks.

Emily said: “She weighed just 1 lb 3.5 ounces or 560g - just larger than a small bag of rice. You could hold her whole head and body in just one hand.

“I know that the skill and care of the whole Silver Star team made a huge difference to Kate's future health and well-being, and we are eternally grateful for all the support we received.

“Kate is now in her second year at Nottingham Uni, studying psychology - something 19 years ago we never thought possible.”

Two years after the birth of Kate, Emily’s son, Joe, was born. 

The Silver Star team explained to the family that the pre-eclampsia was usually less severe for subsequent pregnancies but even so Emily was closely monitored by Silver Star from day 1, and made it all the way to 37 weeks!  Joe was born a bonny 4 1/2 lbs and didn’t need to spend any time in the special care baby unit.  He's currently doing his A levels and, like his sister, is pretty sporty and plays a lot of football.

After many years of reading about other people running the London Marathon for Silver Star, Emily has been gradually working up to reaching the challenge herself. She did her first 10k six years ago, her first half marathon last year and this year she wanted to achieve the final hurdle!

Speaking on behalf of Silver Star Maternity Fund, Maggie Findlay commented: “Emily contacted me last year for a place in our London Marathon Team.  Emily’s commitment to Silver Star has been unwavering as she will be forever grateful for the care and attention she received from the team here, resulting in the safe delivery of her two children Kate and Joe. 

“Her support and that of so many others, encourages us to continue raising funds to help other mums and their families here in Oxford.”

Emily is one of many people running in support of Oxford Hospitals Charity and the many wards and departments across our local hospitals.

Gail Williams from Oxford Hospitals Charity said: “Our wonderful team of runners have had to put up with so much as the London Marathon has been repeatedly cancelled – but we are so excited that they will finally have chance to pound the 26.2 miles through the streets of London in support of our wonderful causes.”