Blayze’s charity continues to raise awareness of rare deadly infection
- Credit: Archant
A Halesworth childminder who set up a charity in memory of her son aimed to raise awareness of the rare infection that killed him.
And now, as the charity marks its first birthday, Courtney Parker is celebrating having sent out about 700 home test kits to pregnant women around the country.
The tests allow women to see if they carry group B strep, a test which is not routinely carried out on the NHS.
Miss Parker's own son Blayze died at just six weeks old after being rushed to hospital with the infection.
Most women carrying the bacteria have healthy babies, but it can be passed on during childbirth causing serious, sometimes fatal complications.
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And Miss Parker has spent the last year channelling her grief into something positive - helping to pay for hundreds of tests to be sent out through The Blayze'ing Star Charity.
'It has gone crazy,' she said. 'I've been doing a lot of fundraising, bingo nights, a sponsored bike ride, raffles, all sorts. 700 tests is more than I thought we were going to do, it's definitely been keeping me busy.'
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So busy in fact, Miss Parker is helped by a group of eight trustees who help raise awareness on the charity's Facebook page, order tests, and send them out nationwide.
Miss Parker's charity contributes around £20 per test, with mums paying only £15 for the home kit which is then sent off for testing. If their results indicate they carry the strep B bacteria, they can be given antibiotics during labour to stop it being passed onto their baby.
And of the 700 tests, Miss Parker said around a quarter of expectant mums had come back to her to say they'd tested positive.
'Most of them come back to us and announce they've had their babies as well which makes me happy,' she said. 'They're just very thankful.
'The charity keeps my mind busy and gives me something to get out of bed for. I'm glad Blayze's memory is being kept alive.'
As for the future, Miss Parker hopes to keep raising awareness, fundraising and sending out tests in the name of her son.