Family remembers Rocco with Christmas gift appeal

Andrew and Kim Hunter with their son Rocco who died.

Andrew and Kim Hunter with their son Rocco who died. - Credit: Archant

A couple who lost their son to sudden infant death syndrome (Sids) want to give every child at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London a present this Christmas.

Toddler Rocco Hunter died after suffering a febrile convulsion – a seizure brought on by a spike in body temperature due to a virus – while asleep.

He had been to pre-school earlier in the day, and was having a nap at the family's home in Castle Acre, near Swaffham.

His mother Kim took him to her neighbour's house, where paramedics attended, but all attempts to revive Rocco were unsuccessful.

The youngster, who had no underlying health conditions, was just 27 months old when he died on July 9.

Following Rocco's death, Kim and husband, Andrew Hunter launched a campaign Rocco's Legacy to raise awareness of febrile convulsions which affect one in 20 children under the age of six.

They raised nearly £12,000 to buy medical equipment for worried parents of children with a history of seizures. They have also arranged for 800,000 leaflets, making people aware of childhood seizures, to be distributed in nationwide Bounty packs, which are given to all expectant and new mums in the UK, from January.

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Mrs Hunter, 32, said: 'As part of our Rocco's Legacy campaign, we wanted to do something positive in Rocco's memory this Christmas, as it will be an incredibly difficult time for us as a family.

'So, we launched a Christmas appeal which will see us donating a brand new gift to every child in Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Evelina Hospital, both in London, and any children in refuges through Leeway domestic support. We need around 500 gifts to secure a gift for every child, and have so far raised around 200 gifts. We really need as much support as possible through this difficult time.'

The couple, who also have an 11-month-old son Shay, are asking people to take a gift to a collection day at Castle Acre village hall on December 13, from 10.30am to 4pm.

Mrs Hunter added: 'To think our family won't have Rocco as part of Christmas Day, unwrapping gifts, being excited, eating anything and everything, having cuddles and giggles with the cousin he adored, my heart is absolutely broken.

'That's why it's so important to us as a family for everyone to get behind Rocco's Legacy Christmas Appeal.

'To bring something positive out of our loss means we can feel Rocco is well and truly a part of so many people's hearts and minds.'

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