By Renee Wood
Healesville florist Rebecca Noble ran a half marathon for Running for Premature Babies to honour Toby Phillips, a baby boy who died last year.
Ms Noble met Toby’s mother Jade Bastin at LLB florist shop while she was pregnant and later created the flower arrangements for Toby’s funeral.
“His story has really touched me, so I just knew that I wanted to run in honour of him,” she said.
At 23 weeks, Toby had preterm premature rupture of membranes and he was born at 28 weeks.
Ms Bastin said due to PROM, his lungs didn’t grow properly and couldn’t support his growing body.
“We are so grateful to Bec for supporting such an important cause and keeping our precious baby’s memory alive,” Ms Bastin said.
Toby never left hospital and visitation was limited during his treatment due to the Covid-19 lockdown health restrictions.
“Sometimes it feels like nobody knew him and we are the only ones who remember him, but he touched so many people in his short life, even if only through social media,” Ms Bastin said.
“He left a huge mark on this world and we are so proud of him. Having other people remember him is one of the most important things to a grieving parent.”
Ms Noble shared that she’d be competing in July’s Run Melbourne on her business social media account and was blown away by other women reaching out to share their birth experiences.
“I think it’s something that’s not talked about… lots and lots of women have contacted me and said that they’ve had miscarriages or premature births,” she said.
“Some of their babies are still living and it was really, really tough on their families while they were going through that…there’s also some children who have long term effects.
“To give me motivation, I’m going to write all of these babies names on my hands…so they’re going to be my motivation to keep going even if it hurts a little bit at the end.”
Sophie Smith set up Running for Premature Babies in 2007 after she and her late husband Ash lost their triplet sons following an extremely premature birth at 24 weeks.
Funds raised go to neonatal research and provide lifesaving neonatal equipment to hospitals, which has directly benefited more than 6000 babies.