Mum’s bid to raise funds for headstone in daughter’s memory

Dana Cripps with Emily
Dana Cripps with Emily
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When baby Emily lost her fight for life just weeks after massive open heart surgery, mum Dana Cripps fell apart. Wracked with grief she could barely remember the funeral of her five-week-old child or the months that followed.

More able to cope with the tragedy two years on, the 29- year-old desperately wants to give her baby a proper send off - with a memorial stone on her grave in Whittlesey, where she is buried near her dad Ian Clarke’s family grave.

Dana, of Phillips Court, Stamford, said: “The d-eath of your baby is something you never recover from.

“It gets easier but you never forget what happened minute by minute. At the time we both fell to pieces. It took a long time to come to terms.”

Dana and Ian found out at the 20-week scan their baby suffered from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart condition, but were told there were options once she was born.

Emily was born on May 11, 2011 at Peterborough City Hospital.

Dana said: “She was rushed to Great Ormond Street Hospital and had her first surgery at three days old - she was in theatre for eight hours.”

Emily spent two weeks in intensive care then was moved to the high dependency unit for a week and a half. At three-and-a-half weeks old, the couple were allowed to take their baby home to Peterborough where they lived at the time, with daily visits from health visitors and community nurses.

Dana, who grew up in Stamford, attending Casterton Community College, worked as PA to head of wholesale at News International,in London, before the company closed following the phone hacking scandal.

The couple’s ordeal began on the night of June 15 when Emily was five weeks old.

Dana said: “Emily started crying and it sounded different. So I went upstairs to change so we could take her to hospital.

“When I came downstairs Ian was giving her CPR.”

An ambulance rushed her to A&E at Peterborough where doctors worked on her.

Dana said: “When it became obvious she could not be saved, they left us. Ian held her in his arms and we said our goodbyes.”

Dana, who returned to Stamford after separating from Ian, said: “At the time it was very difficult. Now I feel I’d like to give her a proper send off which I was not able to do when she died. A memorial will hopefully help us to move on.”

Dana, who works as an administrator in Peterborough admits the £2,000 for a headstone plus carving is more than she can afford.

She said: “My friends came up with the idea of raising funds. We are planning a raffle and asking local companies to donate small prizes.

“They have also set up a ‘fund me’ web page where people can contribute to the memorial.” It has already raised £265.

Dana said: “I did all I could for my daughter when she was with me. I want to do all I can to make sure her place of rest is pretty with something there to mark her life”.

To contribute towards Emily’s memorial visit