Pedal power will help baby unit

When she cuddles tiny baby Noah, it is a bittersweet moment for young mum Kimberley Bunn, who knows she can never take him home.

Just moments after he was born, doctors noticed problems with his breathing, and he has since been diagnosed with a muscular disease which will confine him to hospital for most of his short life.

Now 22-year-old Kimberley and her colleagues at the restaurant Nando's in King's Lynn are going to ride an exercise bike 1,200 miles – the distance to Lapland – to raise money for the special care baby unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, where Noah is staying.

Although she realised there was a problem as soon as he was born, it was not until the end of September that Kimberley found out Noah had spinal muscular atrophy, a rare genetic disease which stops his muscles developing. Noah is constantly linked up to machines and has to be given oxygen.

'When I found out what he had, I was hysterical. I was crying for a while,' she said.

'It was the biggest shock because my pregnancy was fine. His heart rate was fine. It was only in the last few weeks that he calmed down.

'After he was born we took him home for one day. We were going to visit some relatives, but he turned blue two minutes from the hospital.

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'I have not been able to take him home since then.

'It was like a massive bomb. It was my biggest dream to have a baby and to take him home and do things that mothers do. But I'm still a mother to him at the hospital. They have helped us so much. The staff there are amazing. I did not realise how many babies go through the special care unit.'

'I cannot thank them enough. They give day in day out care when you are not able to be there. It is fantastic.

'They do have one overnight room. I was able to stay with Noah all night.'

Miss Bunn, who is staying in Swaffham with her sister Steph, has to travel to the QEH on the bus almost every day to see Noah.

'He is gradually deteriorating, but they have not given us an indication of how long,' she said.

'He has developed in other ways, with his cooing. He is always smiling. He is lovely. It is really nice in that way.'

The former Hamond's High School student grew up in Narborough. She has worked at Nando's since it opened more than two years ago.

The Nando's team decided to do the bike ride because they wanted to raise money for a charity. They must cycle an average of 54 miles each day.

Nando's manager Cathy Peacock said: 'We wanted to do something to help Kim. We decided to raise money for the unit because we know what a support it has been for her.'

The restaurant is also inviting customers to help cycle some of the distance and to sponsor the team's effort.

To sponsor the Nando's team or to help out with the effort contact the restaurant at 63 High Street, Kings Lynn, PE30 1BA or call 01553 782863.