Grateful family to join running Santas

Donna Smith with daughter Danika and sons Jakob (left) and Zak. Danika was refered to Quidenham Children's Hospice when she was a few months old and has been supported by them ever since.
Donna Smith with daughter Danika and sons Jakob (left) and Zak. Danika was refered to Quidenham Children's Hospice when she was a few months old and has been supported by them ever since.
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A TEENAGER who, as a baby, was given just 72 hours to live, will be taking part the annual Santa Run in Bury St Edmunds to raise money for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice (Each).

Danika Smith, 15, was born with severe disabilities and needs round the clock care after her mother Donna suffered complications during her pregnancy.

Danika and her identical twin sister Kamara were born at just 37 weeks after Donna went into spontaneous labour.

Kamara was stillborn and Danika left with a ‘shopping list’ of disabilities including spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, microcephaly, kyphoscoliosos and cortical blindness.

“It was later discovered they had suffered acute twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome – a complication where one twin receives more blood flow than the other.

Donna, from Bury, has been helped through the years by Quidenham Children’s Hospice, part of Each, and says it has been a ‘lifeline’ for the family.

She said: “Danika has a shopping list of disabilities and is life-limited. Quidenham has been an amazing support since she first started going.

“Danika was first referred to Quidenham Children’s Hospice when she was a few months old by our health visitor. I admit that I was extremely reluctant as I thought that she was my daughter and it was my duty to look after and care for her – however, we are so grateful as a family for that referral as it has been an absolute lifeline.”

Donna, Danika, her brothers Zakary, 17, and Jakob, 13, her dad Norman Smith and his partner Jo Bell are all taking part in the Santa Run on November 27 to raise money for Each.

The event, in its sixth year, will see hundreds of Santas running a 2.5 km course starting and finishing at the arc in Bury.

Donna said: “Towards the end of last year, after a consultation with Danika’s respiratory specialist, it was considered appropriate to put her end of life care plans into place.

“Again, within this process, Quidenham staff have been amazing. They have informed me of what is available ‘when the time comes’ for Danika to grow her angel wings. I didn’t even realise that there were hospice facilities like this until it happened to me and for this service to be available, I am eternally grateful.”

You can enter the Santa Run using the coupon on the right.