When Natasha and Lance Beatty lost their five-month-old daughter Lahna Tula, they were determined to ensure a lasting legacy for her.
So, in 2009, they launched the Lahna Appeal in her memory to fund both pioneering and routine equipment for patients and staff at Southampton Children’s Hospital.
As Lahna died suddenly from a viral condition which led to heart failure, her parents focused initially on supporting the heart unit which cared for her and maternity services at the Princess Anne Hospital.
To date they have raised more than £90,000 which has enabled the purchase of equipment including a state-of-the-art portable heart ultrasound scanner and an underwater heart monitor and water cooler for women in labour.
Their efforts have also secured two otoscopes to examine the ears of children in the emergency department as well as birthing and postnatal monitoring equipment.
Mostly recently, the Lahna Appeal – a fund of Southampton Children’s Hospital Charity – donated £8,000 to consultant paediatric ophthalmologist Jay Self for a new device that allows them to perform vital eye and brain tests on young patients at the bedside.
Until now, it has been difficult to assess potential damage to vision caused by problems such as head trauma or side-effects of treatment as patients were required to attend a specialist laboratory for examination – something not always possible for those too unwell to leave their wards.
Now, a new piece of kit known as RETIVAL, which is hand-sized and mobile, allows clinicians to test children at the bedside, reducing the time and stress involved when only a simple check is sufficient to determine eye health.
Natasha said: “Lahna would have been eight years old now and we have been fundraising in her memory since 2009, something we are extremely proud of.
“Jay and his team are doing some amazing work and we’re delighted to have been involved in the purchase of the RETIVAL device, a quick and easy test that can detect potential damage to sight so that treatment can be given to children before it’s too late.”
Make a difference today
To make a donation to Southampton Children's Hospital Charity please call 023 8120 8881 or text SCHC00 followed by the amount to 70070.