A Sheffield mum who suffered the devastation of losing her eight-week-old daughter is giving back to the charity who gave her family their last precious moments together.

Alana and Gary Morris, whose “gorgeous little princess” Ivy died at Bluebell Wood in 2016, have since raised over £14,000 for the hospice in her name. 

Now Alana has delivered a very welcome gift for frontline care staff at the hospice who are supporting some of the most vulnerable in our communities through the Covid-19 emergency, pledging to continue to do what she can for Bluebell Wood in the difficult times ahead.

Alana, who works for Killamarsh Parish Council as well as being an Avon representative in her spare time, has asked her customers to donate a pound - or whatever they can afford - to buy a batch of soothing hand cream for hospice staff.

“We sadly know first-hand just how much the care team do for families in normal times, never mind at the moment,” said Alana, 32.

“I spoke to one of the nurses recently who said they’d be really grateful because of all the antibacterial hand gel and extra hand washing, their hands can feel raw.

“It it wasn’t for Bluebell Wood, we wouldn’t have had that time at the end with Ivy. That’s why we always do what we can to give back.

“The way they help people, when they’re going through something nobody should have to go through, is amazing. It’s such a special place.”

After having two miscarriages before Ivy, Alana and Gary dubbed her their ‘third-time lucky’ baby. But their happiness was shattered at their routine six-week check-up when they received the devastating news that Ivy had a brain tumour.

An operation swiftly followed, removing 80 per cent of the tumour, but it wasn’t enough. It was then they had to make an impossible decision.

“Ivy kept having fits throughout the night, and the next day she was still very poorly,” said dad Gary.

“She wasn’t responding well to the anti-seizure medicine she was on. The doctors told us that it was very likely that the tumour would grow again, and if she ever did come round, she would be paralysed, blind, and deaf.

“She was too little for radiotherapy, and chemotherapy would have given us a few extra months with her, but would have been painful for her – it would have been for our gain and not Ivy’s. So we decided to turn her machines off, which was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do.”

After the machines were switched off, Ivy carried on breathing. It was then the family made the decision to take Ivy to Bluebell Wood.

“As soon as we got to Bluebell Wood, they settled us straight into a room,” said Gary.

“It was so nice to be able to see Ivy’s full face again, without any wires. She slept in between us on a pillow, and the next morning we put her in a pram, and went for a walk in the garden. 

“Both our best friends came to visit. Later that day, we laid down in bed with her, and she passed away peacefully, cuddled by us both.”

Since losing Ivy, the family have used Bluebell Wood’s counselling service and regularly attend bereavement groups at the hospice, meeting many other families who’ve lost loved ones before their time. They also have a happy and healthy daughter Ginny, who will be two in July.

“For us, Bluebell Wood is like being in a family that nobody ever wants to be in, but, once you’re a part of it, it’s the best place you could be,”said Alana.

Sam Wood, Head of Fundraising at Bluebell Wood, said: “We’d like to thank Alana for this wonderful gesture and for all she’s done for Bluebell Wood over the years alongside her family and friends.

“Thanks to our amazing community of supporters, we’re able to be here for families who need us more than ever right now, as well as helping relieve the pressure on our NHS.”

Click here to find out how you can help pledge to help families like Ivy's when the time is right for you