“As a nurse myself I know what good care looks like. And we were receiving the kind of support I would like to hope I give my patients.”

Rob Wilcock, is used to being the one handing out clinical care, working as nurse on the Children’s Ward at the Horton General.

But recently he and his wife Rachel, saw things from the other side.  And despite going through some of the toughest times of their lives, they want to share their experience – and their thanks - with the teams that helped them through.

The couple were excited to learn that they were expecting twins in late 2019, but the pregnancy was complex, and they needed the support of the fetal medicine unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital. 

Scans in January 2020 showed that their twin daughters were struggling, and the family was faced with some very difficult decisions about how to try and save the babies.

A specialist laser procedure took place in London to try and save them both, but sadly one of the twins, Zoe, passed away the next day. The family returned to the care of the JR team to support little Keziah, who received transfusions whilst still in the womb, to keep her alive.

 Keziah was born early, and supported by the neonatal team, with Rob and Rachel able to finally take her home some weeks later.

Throughout it all Rob says the family experienced exemplary care. 

He said: ‘The empathy, kindness, and professionalism we received during such a difficult time was just outstanding’

‘I know just how hard things are for these teams, there is real pressure on them, so to experience how much they put into their work, and the incredible support they gave us through this very difficult time was humbling. I feel a real debt to the team.

‘The medical care was textbook – we couldn’t have asked for better - but as well as this, it was the little things that helped us through the dark times. A kind word or a cup of tea, offered at just the right time. Their professionalism and compassion was exemplary.

‘As a nurse, I recognised that this was the kind of care I aim for. And as we come out of the other side, with our beautiful happy little girl, I wanted to do something to say a real thank you and let the team know what a difference they have made to my family.

‘We organised some bake sales and I did a sponsored run from the Horton, where I work, to the JR, where we received the care - raising over £6,000 to fund an additional CTG machine that helps to monitor a baby’s heartbeat.

‘It was surprisingly easier than we expected to raise such a large sum, and we found it helpful to do something positive to help other families as a lasting legacy to our daughter Zoe.’

Rob’s donation has gone to Silver Star, which is part of Oxford Hospitals Charity, and works to make a difference to maternity services in Oxford.

Maggie Findlay from Silver Star said: ‘We are so very touched by Rob and Rachel’s kind and generous fundraising, and also their supportive words, which mean so much to the team.’

We would like to share our thanks to Rob and Rachel for all they have done  – and to the maternity and neonatal teams that helped them through this difficult time.