A couple whose baby daughter lived for just 10 days are running the London Marathon to raise money to support the wellbeing of the “beautiful humans” who cared for their family.

Jade Nash’s heart stopped when she was born on January 9 at University Hospital Lewisham, in south-east London, and, although staff managed to revive her, she died on January 19 at Demelza hospice, in nearby Eltham.

Named after the midwife who delivered her, Jade also spent eight days at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

News Shopper: photo issued by Remember My Baby of Jade at Demelza hospice, in Eltham, south-east London, with her parents and brother Elijah. Claire Nash, 33, and Wayne Flanagan, 34, are running the London Marathon to raise money to support the wellbeing of staff at University Hospital Lewisham, Evelina London Children's Hospital and Demelza Hospice Care for Children after the birth of their daughter Jade on January 9, 2021 while both parents had Covid-19photo issued by Remember My Baby of Jade at Demelza hospice, in Eltham, south-east London, with her parents and brother Elijah. Claire Nash, 33, and Wayne Flanagan, 34, are running the London Marathon to raise money to support the wellbeing of staff at University Hospital Lewisham, Evelina London Children's Hospital and Demelza Hospice Care for Children after the birth of their daughter Jade on January 9, 2021 while both parents had Covid-19

Her parents Claire Nash and Wayne Flanagan, both 34, praised the “amazing people” they met during Jade’s short life.

The couple from Lewisham, who were both Covid positive when Jade was born six weeks before her due date, want kindness to be their daughter’s legacy.

“She opened our eyes up to these amazing people,” Ms Nash told the PA news agency.

“They are so selfless and they will do everything they can to ensure that loved ones can be together ahead of prioritising their health or their wellbeing.

“And that’s really what we want to carry forward in Jade’s memory.

“She opened our eyes up to these beautiful humans that I hope that we can continue to celebrate for as long as we live.

“I just remember watching them thinking they’re almost like angels.

“I don’t know how they do it.

“They’re just beautiful, beautiful humans.”

The couple also praised the selflessness of staff who rushed in, despite the Covid-19 risk, to deliver and revive Jade when her heart rate dropped.

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Ms Nash said: "Wayne and I got Covid a few days into the new year, and that’s when things started to seem to go a bit peculiar.

“I was getting what I thought were constipation feelings and I’d come down with a high temperature so I was in bed for quite a few days."

On January 9, she called University Hospital Lewisham after a bleed and was told to go in despite her Covid status.

Unable to use public transport due to the virus, Ms Nash walked about a mile to the hospital while Mr Flanagan stayed at home with the couple’s five-year-old son Elijah.

Labour had started and everything progressed well until the baby’s heart rate started falling and a swift forceps delivery was required.

Jade suffered Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) during her birth so had significant brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.

Ms Nash said: “The room full of people had put their lives on the line to save our little girl.

“I remember her being born and she was placed on my lower stomach for just a few seconds and then she got taken away to the bed where they started resuscitating her.

“They worked on her for 30 minutes to try and get her heart beating again.

"I don’t know why but I guess at that moment in time, I never thought that our baby wasn’t going to survive.”

News Shopper:  Jade at Evelina London Children's Hospital Jade at Evelina London Children's Hospital

The following day Ms Nash was moved to St Thomas’ Hospital, on the same central London site, and the couple – wearing masks, gowns, goggles and gloves – were allowed to see Jade.

“She was in this big room in her little incubator, just looking so fragile,” Ms Nash said.

“That was the first time I guess we really got to look at her and talk to her and appreciate how strong and brave she was but I remember thinking and looking at her in her incubator and noticing the box on the side for her footprints and thinking that’s almost like her memory box.

“I guess I was in denial that that’s what we were facing.”

Jade was at Evelina for eight days and Ms Nash remembers it as “a magical time”, saying “that’s where we got to make some really special memories with her”.

Friends and family, including Elijah, were not allowed to visit and the couple praised the staff who “were everything to us at that time” and had showed them such compassion.

Mr Flanagan said there are children like Jade even in times without Covid-19 and the emotional impact on staff was “huge”.

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One nurse tucked a supportive note into a copy of the Charlie Mackesy book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse which had been tearfully read to Jade, while another used Jade’s medical leads to make a postcard of hearts for the couple to keep.

The couple wanted Jade to meet her family, especially her big brother, but it was not possible at Evelina so she was moved to the Demelza children’s hospice in Eltham, where she also met her grandparents, uncles and aunt.

“I’ve got some really, really, really precious moments and memories of Elijah leaning into her incubator and touching her hand and just being so delicate with her and being excited at seeing his little sister,” Ms Nash told PA.

“It was really, really magical.”

She added: “We got to spend the night together the four of us and it was a perfect night.

“I guess what we imagined life to be like with Jade.”

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The family had nicknamed their unborn baby Little Peacock and a picture of a peacock was put on the door of the room where Jade’s body was taken following her death.

Her parents praised the small gesture from staff as having had a huge impact with Ms Nash saying: “It just shows kindness and a beautiful human being.”

Mr Flanagan, who will soon start a masters in psychology at the University of Greenwich, said it was not yet known if Covid-19 was a factor in Jade’s death but there had been a placental abruption.

“I’m not really sure any answer would really bring any solace,” he added.

Ms Nash added: “I was always scared when I was pregnant with Jade because of the situation that we were in.

“We were obviously in the peak of the pandemic. She was going to be born at a time when a lot of things were uncertain.

“But I guess I never thought that we would both be Covid positive, I would be on my own, Wayne wouldn’t be there at the birth of his daughter and what would happen would happen.”

Mr Flanagan said the family is fundraising for clinical psychologists so staff have somebody to talk to and things like wellbeing hubs and tea trollies where midwives, nurses and doctors can go after a very demanding situation to relax and “try and understand what they’ve just been through”.

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“So that’s really what we wanted to do, to try and care for the carers", he added.

The Virgin Money London Marathon on October 3 will be the fourth challenge for Mr Flanagan who completed the Brighton Marathon on September 12 and will run the Goodwood Marathon on September 26.

Mr Nash said he will also run the Little Peacock Marathon on September 19, along a route taking in the places where Jade spent her short life.

The couple and son Elijah, five, used the nickname Little Peacock before Jade was born and Peacock became her middle name.

They will run the London Marathon in peacock-themed outfits.

Mr Flanagan has previously run the London, Brighton and Berlin marathons but this will be Ms Nash’s first although she hopes to join parts of the Little Peacock run.

“There’s a lot of landmarks along the London Marathon race that have significance in Jade’s life.

“The evenings that we drove back from the hospital from Evelina, we would cross Tower Bridge to get to ours and obviously, that’s the halfway point for the London Marathon.

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“It’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster.

“I’m going to be a blubbering mess.

“But I’m really hoping that people will see Jade’s name on our shirts and shout Jade’s name and I think that’s going to give me a massive boost.”

She added: “I remember when Jade passed, one of the early thoughts that I had is that I don’t want to get to the end of my time and look back and not appreciate the significance of what I feel she’s given and what she’s taught us.”

Ms Nash said the couple want to do all they can to ensure that Jade is “always remembered”.

Mr Flanagan said they also want “to show Elijah that it’s OK to be sad when sad things happen”.

“But that also there can be some kind of good that comes with it.”

He started running regularly in January, often with a friend who was “a great listener”, and found it “really cathartic”.

“I found it a way of channelling my grief, of starting to try to understand the emotions and feelings that I was experiencing.”

Mr Flanagan has since joined Kent AC running club which trains at Ladywell Fields running track in the shadow of Lewisham Hospital.

He decided to use running to help the wellbeing of the staff who had cared for Jade and her family after seeing the impact on them “and the pain that they were feeling for Jade and for us as a family”.

Lottie McElhinney, care team leader at Demelza’s South East London hospice, said: “No parent should ever have to go through what Wayne and Claire did, but their incredible fundraising efforts will ensure Demelza can be there for other local families in the future.

“We are so grateful to The Flying Peacocks and wish them lots of luck in their four marathon challenge in memory of Jade.”

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.”

To donate to fundraising in Jade’s memory, click here.

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