A mum whose baby required life saving surgery before she was a day old has urged the public to support a charity which kept her by her child’s side.

36-year-old Katie Kennedy, from Stoke Poges, wants to thank The Sick Children’s Trust for giving her free accommodation when her daughter Rosie was born life-threateningly ill.

Rosie in NICU

Rosie was born six weeks early at Watford General Hospital, without a bottom and with insides that were not connecting.

She was rushed to The Rosie Hospital in Cambridge for an operation to create a stoma bag and spent the first week of her life on the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Rosie was born six weeks prematurely

Katie said: “I was told that [Rosie] needed emergency surgery miles away from home.

“Alarm bells started ringing in my head – how would she survive? She was so tiny and too fragile.

“All I wanted was to take my baby home.

“As a parent, there’s an innate force within you that says you must be there for your child and you must protect them.

“I felt I was failing as mother - it was only her first day in the world.

“By the time I arrived at hospital it had been nine hours since I’d seen my baby – I refused to be separated from her again.”

Katie had not slept for three days and was in a state of worry and panic, but luckily for her the trust gave her a set of keys for a room in Chestnut House.

The free accommodation meant she could stay just minutes from Rosie’s bedside for the week her daughter was on NICU.

She said: “My tiny baby’s hand was held longer, she was cuddled more, read books and given words of encouragement round the clock.

Rosie with her grandma and grandad

“She was never alone. All of which helped my daughter have a better and faster recovery, because we were there for her.”

The Sick Children’s Trust runs ten free ‘Homes from Home’ across the country, supporting over 4,000 families with seriously ill children in hospital.

Although the accommodation is provided free to families, it costs the charity £30 to support a family for one night.

Katie said: “I am asking everyone to think about making a donation and help a sick child have their mummy or daddy by their hospital bedside.

“The trust provides support when you need it most, and it is the recovery of a young person who has their whole future ahead of them.”

Visit www.sickchildrenstrust.org for more information.