Lewisham couple Wayne Flanagan and Claire Nash, both 34, are taking on a series of marathon challenges to raise money in memory of their daughter, Jade Peacock Nash, who died at just 10 days old. The money they raise will be split between University Hospital Lewisham, Evelina Children’s Hospital and Demelza Hospice for Children – the three places that cared for Jade during her short life.
The Flying Peacocks – the name Wayne and Claire have given their running team – are set to run four marathons in 21 days, ending with the 2021 London Marathon on 3 October.
Jade was born on 9 January 2021 at University Hospital Lewisham but suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) during childbirth, an event that resulted in significant brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow to her brain.
“Jade was laid on my stomach for a few seconds but then the medical staff took her away,” said Claire. “I was unaware of the severity of the situation until I saw the nurses and doctors resuscitating her.”
The midwife looking after Claire that day was Jade Johnson, and Wayne and Claire immediately decided to name their baby after her.
“All I could think about was whether they were OK,” said Jade. “So I was taken aback when Wayne asked whether I was OK! He thanked me for being there with Claire, and then told me that they had named the baby Jade, after me. I was so surprised and really touched.”
Due to the severity of Jade's condition, Jade was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Evelina Children's Hospital in Central London. After a week, the doctors said there was nothing more they could do, and Jade was transferred to Demelza Hospice Care for Children in Eltham, South-East London on 18 January.
She died on 19 January, lying peacefully on Wayne’s chest.
"Let kindness be her legacy"
Shortly after Jade’s death, Wayne and Claire set up a fundraising page in Jade’s memory with “Let kindness be her legacy” as the motto, something a friend had said to them at Jade’s funeral.
Within a matter of weeks Jade had raised over £30,000 to be shared between Lewisham, Evelina and Demelza.
“It’s baby Jade’s gift,” says Claire. “In the few days we had with her, she opened our eyes to the generosity and selflessness of such incredible people, who wrapped us up in love and support.”
Wayne is taking part in four marathons in 21 days – Brighton, Goodwood, London and their own very special event - The Little Peacock Marathon. The route follows Jade’s journey, starting at University Hospital Lewisham, onto the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Demelza’s hospice in Eltham and finishing at Honor Oak Crematorium.
Claire will be joining Wayne by running the London Marathon, both dressed as Peacocks, less than nine months after giving birth to Jade.
“We want to raise awareness of the experiences of those working on the frontline of healthcare,” said Claire. “While our circumstances were traumatic, we were acutely aware of the impact our situation had on those supporting us, which must take such a toll on their wellbeing. We were supported by a huge number of specialist midwives, nurses, doctors, consultants but most of all, special people.
“We had 10 glorious days with Jade thanks to everyone at UHL, Evelina and Demelza. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for not only giving us those 10 days but making them as memorable as we could possibly have wanted in the circumstances.”
Margarita Vidiella, Head of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Charity said: “We are touched that, despite their huge loss, Claire and Wayne are thinking of others by running marathons in memory of their daughter Jade Peacock.
“Their fundraising efforts will help us fund important staff wellbeing initiatives, such as improving rest areas for frontline staff, and we are truly grateful for everything they are doing.”
You can support Wayne and Claire's fundraising efforts by visiting their fundraising page.