Talitha Caris Sond was born over three months premature on October 27, 2008, but no heartbeat could be detected in the womb, and then also after she was born, totalling over four hours and she was then declared clinically dead before being revived by the care and skills of staff at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust’s Neonatal Unit.
Now 14 years later, Talitha was present along with her father to present a donation cheque to the neonatal unit to thank them for their services, after the family had a second daughter born prematurely four years later in October 2012, but sadly the second daughter, Aniya Gabriella Sond died just two weeks later.
The family from Wolverhampton made a donation of £700 on the day, with further donations totalling over £1,000 to the neonatal unit at New Cross Hospital
Teerth Sond, 49, who is minister at the Fellowship of Servants at All Saints community centre in the city, and his wife Usha Sond, 46, had two baby girls born prematurely at the hospital.
The the first being Talitha who was present at the donation, and their second was Aniya, who tragically passed away two weeks after she was born.
Mr Sond, a father-of-five, along with his daughter Talitha were present to make the donation to the Neonatal centre at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, on Friday.
Fourteen years later, her parents were reunited with the consultant who helped save her life.
As she was born more than three months premature, doctors and nurses initially had told both parents to expect the worst, and that they could not find a heartbeat for at least two hours while she was still in the womb, and at least two hours after her mother gave birth.
Doctors had informed the parents that due to there being no heartbeat for such a long period, and lack of oxygen to the brain, it would result in Talitha possibly having brain damage, and that she could be deaf and blind. She also underwent heart surgery, and spent five months in the unit, but 14 years on, Talitha pulled through, has no brain damage, and is now a healthy teenager, loving life.
Her name is taken from the Bible, in the gospel of Mark, chapter five, when Jesus said: “Talitha koum” which means ‘little girl, arise’.
Staff from the ward who were working on the ward at the time in 2008, and even cared for Talitha, were present on the day of the donation and celebrated the fact that the baby who was born weighing just one pound, two ounces, was there on the day celebrating her 14th birthday.
Babu Kumararatne, Consultant Neonatologist at New Cross Hospital, was present at the donation, and was amazed to meet Talitha 14 years on, he said: "I remember when Talitha was born, and I cannot believe how much she has grown up now, and that there is nothing wrong with her and she is a fully healthy teenager now."
Tragically, four years later on October 2, 2012, the family were in the same scenario, this time with their daughter Aniya, who was also born three months premature on the same unit, but she sadly died two weeks later on October 16.
After seeing both sides of the scenario that parents face when their child is born prematurely, they want to raise awareness and share the message of hope for anyone else going through a similar situation or may go through it. To never lose hope.
The couple were so impressed by the care and treatment their daughters had at New Cross they set up a charity called Voice of the Voiceless (VOTV). Through that, they wanted to do something to support other families in a similar situation, and would like the money donated to go towards incubator care.
Teerth said: “This is a story of hope – Talitha is a miracle child. As soon as you go to the Neonatal Unit, you think ‘is my child going to be OK?’ But we saw the work of the staff there and we want to support their work.
“One day in the womb is like seven days in an incubator so the womb should be the most secure place for a baby, and we want to make a contribution towards incubator care for neonatal babies.
“We thought we were going through the same with Aniya as we did four years previously with Talitha, but this time we saw the other side of the coin.
“The nurses and doctors did their best to save her but she suffered internal bleeding and died at 5pm on 16 October 2012.
"A member of staff (Chew Grainger, Neonatal Junior Sister, now retired) was with us when Aniya breathed her last breath and she cried – the compassion she showed was real.
“Even though she had tears, Gabriella never had a voice to speak out, but through her short life, VOTV was born. If I could carry a legacy that through my daughter’s death others have survived, I have done my job.”
Teerth, 49, and Usha, 46, were reunited with Babu Kumararatne, Consultant Neonatologist, who helped saved Talitha’s life, along with other Neonatal Unit staff to present a cheque for £700 to The RWT Charity at New Cross Hospital, with the extra money coming in cash donations, totalling over £1,000.
Teerth is co-owner of home improvement firm SmartglazeUK.
A total of £300 was raised by the 'Fellowship of Servants’ congregation, with VOTV contributing £400. A further £200 came from Smartglaze customer Harry Semhon, and £100 from Teerth’s parents Hari Ram and Gurmito Kaur. An additional £50 came from Jass Singh, another SmartglazeUK customer, took the total to £1,050.
In remembering Aniya Gabriella’s life, Teerth takes a quote from Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch lady and Christian writer who survived the Nazi concentration camp after trying to protect Jews in her home and said: “The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.”
Teerth added: “This is Aniya Gabriella’s story through VOTV. Through VOTV many babies lives have been saved.
"If anyone else would like to make a donation, they should email VOTV at email@example.com
The couple, who have been married for 23 years and also have daughters Hannah Leah, 21 and Taliya 16 and son Joshua 11, were joined at the presentation by fellow SmartglazeUK co-directors Gurpal Sehmi and Charles Deward.
And in another generous offer, Teerth is offering any NHS staff in the Midlands a 25 per cent discount off any SmartglazeUK products as a thank you for their efforts. Staff can access this via their website smartglazeuk.uk or by calling 0333 22 48 007.
“I have been there, up close and personal, and seen what care staff give, and this is a gesture to them and their professionalism,” added Teerth.