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British couple sets up fund for babies
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A British couple has set up a foundation in Shanghai to help babies suffering from respiratory diseases.

The establishment of the Foundation for Newborns with Respiratory Diseases was formally announced at the Shanghai Children's Hospital yesterday, a year after Scott and Cecile Spirit lost their twin son Leo.

"(Establishing the foundation) probably does help us get over the pain," Scott said.

"We hope Thomas, Leo's twin, when he grows up, will understand this and get involved in the foundation as well."

Scott is the strategy director of advertising group WPP.

The money raised by the foundation will go toward providing financial support to parents of newborns suffering from respiratory diseases. It will ensure more babies receive adequate treatment at the Shanghai Children's Hospital where the Spirit's twin sons were hospitalized after being born three months premature, and weighing only 800 g each.

At the time, the couple doubted their sons would be able to receive the proper care they needed. Although Leo died after four weeks, the couple realized they were wrong.

Grateful to the nurses and doctors for their care and devotion, the Spirits wanted to do something to remember their son and give something back to the hospital. They set up the foundation with an initial capital of 400,000 yuan ($58,000). The Shanghai Children's Health Foundation will donate a further 100,000 yuan.

"It is a small amount of money, but it will go a long way in helping poor parents to seek treatment for their babies," Huang Guoying, director of the hospital, said.

Although respiratory diseases make up about 15 percent of neonatal mortality in China, many of the deaths could have been prevented if parents were able to afford timely care for their newborns, Huang said.

Chen Chao, director of the neonatology department of the hospital, said Thomas is smaller than other babies his age, but is recovering well and should catch up quickly with other 13-month-olds.

"Even if we move away from China in the future, we will go on supporting the foundation," Scott said.

(China Daily November 26, 2008)

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