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Legacy run for infant raising money for Sturgeon Hospital NICU

Local couple hoping to raise $10,000 to outfit the Stollery Children's Hospital NICU in St. Albert
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Tara and Brad Abma with their two sons Zachary and Luke in 2017. The St. Albert couple is organizing a fun legacy run Sept. 29 in memory of their son Luke, who passed away at 80 days old, and putting funds raised towards the new Stollery neonatal intensive care unit at the Sturgeon Hospital.

A local family will be honouring the loss of their infant son by hosting a fun run in his memory next weekend, with funds going toward the Sturgeon Community Hospital’s new Stollery Children's Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Tara and Brad Abma thought they would be bringing a healthy baby boy named Luke home when Tara gave birth at the Sturgeon hospital in October 2017 at nearly 37 weeks. When Luke unexpectedly had trouble breathing after birth, hospital staff were able to stabilize him and transfer him to the Royal Alexandra Hospital NICU.

When Luke was five days old, doctors discovered he had a heart condition and ordered him to undergo heart surgery. The family was subsequently transferred to the David Schiff NICU at the University of Alberta hospital.

The newborn passed away at the university hospital at 80 days old, after he was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition and doctors determined there were no more options for Luke.

“To be able to do something in memory of him, and to keep his memory alive – which was a promise we made to him before he passed away – this is how we thought we could achieve that,” Tara said.

She added the family felt it was important to raise money for the Sturgeon NICU to help future families who may require a more intensive level of care with their newborns.

“Hopefully that would make a difference for their family or their child, that they would be able to bring a healthy baby home,” she said, adding staff at Sturgeon Hospital did everything they could.

The $2.3-million Stollery NICU at the Sturgeon Hospital is set to open sometime this fall and was announced in early 2018. The Stollery is fundraising an additional $2.5 million to outfit the six-bed, state-of-the-art facility, which is where funds for Luke’s legacy fun run will go.

The run is taking place Sunday, Sept. 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Lions Park, and registration is done through The Running Room. Registration costs $35 for adults and $15 for youth.

Tara said the family hopes to raise $10,000 from the run, and so far has raised $4,500 in donations, which does not include registration fees yet.

Registration can be done throught the Running Room.

Hannah Lawson

About the Author: Hannah Lawson

Hannah Lawson joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2019 after working as editor of the Athabasca Advocate. She writes about city hall.
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