KNOWLE parents who nearly lost their baby to a deadly bowel infection have joined calls for more research funding.
The Bragg family has teamed up with Action Medical Research (AMR) in the hope that telling its story will raise vital awareness of necrotising enterocolitis (NEC).
NEC is a potentially fatal bowel infection that afflicts new-born babies.
Jack Bragg, aged four, lives with his Mum and Dad, Jenny and Matthew, and his baby sister Alice in Knowle, Solihull.
Born extremely prematurely, he contracted NEC.
But as he has grown up, he has made remarkable progress to overcome his condition.
His Mum Jenny said: “I had a very good, easy pregnancy, with no issues at all but at 25 weeks I haemorrhaged and was rushed into hospital.
“I had to have an emergency caesarean and shortly after Jack developed NEC
“He is now a happy pre-schooler but, due to his early birth, faces potential health and developmental issues as he grows up.”
Jack was delivered at 25 weeks and two days, weighing just one pound 15 ounces.
He needed oxygen, help with his breathing and feeding tubes to survive.
He suffered a collapsed lung and brain bleeds and eventually contracted the serious infection.
After life-saving surgery in the middle of the night, Jack went on to endure many serious health problems and spent four and a half months in hospital before he was finally allowed home.
The charity suggests hundreds of babies develop the condition each year in the UK.
One in six babies with NEC need urgent treatment which often results in emergency surgery.
AMR has called for increased funding for research into the condition and wants to attract donations to further this aim.
A charity spokesperson said: “Sadly, many babies with NEC lose their lives and some of those who survive suffer long-term complications, such as persistent bowel problems, poor growth and learning difficulties.”
The charity want to assist researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Southampton, led by associate professor Ed Juszczak, who are investigating how different milk feeds and food supplements affect babies’ chances of developing NEC.
AMR has been funding medical research since its conception in 1952.
It has been involved in scientific breakthroughs including the introduction of the first polio vaccines in the UK.
The charity is currently funding research into conditions including asthma, prematurity, epilepsy, meningitis, cerebral palsy, brain cancer and some rare and distressing conditions.