Couple who lost twins to raise cash for baby transport incubator

A COUPLE who lost their baby girls to a rare disease are organising a rock night to raise funds for the Simpsons Special Care Babies charity.

First-time mum Gillian Cowe, 42, and her husband Andrew, 48, were looking forward to the birth of Robyn and Erin in August 2000 when acute twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome struck just four weeks before the twins were due.

The condition was diagnosed at the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion and despite an emergency caesarean, Mrs Cowe lost their twin girls.

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The couple, who live in Tranent, have been fundraising for Simpsons Special Care Babies ever since and will host their latest Rockin’ for Tots event in The Debating Hall and Loft Bar at Teviot Row in October.

The event aims to help raise funds to purchase a transport incubator for the Neonatal Unit, in the Simpson maternity unit.

The Cowes also plan to hold an online auction later this month, which will feature items including a signed Hearts strip and a signed Stereophonics photograph.

Mrs Cowe said: “In August 2000, we lost our beautiful twin daughters at 36 weeks due to acute twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. It was a truly devastating experience but as a way of dealing with our loss, we decided to hold a fundraiser in their memory, in aid of Simpsons Special Care Babies.

“One of the hardest things about losing a baby is you have so few memories, so by holding the fundraisers, we create memories linked to our girls which has helped us and in turn helped this excellent charity.”

The couple, who now have two children – Brenna, ten, and Scott, seven, – held a rock night at the Corn Exchange in Haddington in 2001 which, along with a raffle and auction, raised £8400. The money helped to purchase an EEG scanner machine for use on premature babies in the neonatal unit.

In 2005, the first Rockin’ for Tots event hosted by Mr and Mrs Cowe took place at The Exchange in Edinburgh’s Grove Street, with the rock night, raffle and auction raising £6500 for a special ventilator at the neonatal unit.

Mrs Cowe, who is a secretary, added: “We enjoy organising these events and hope that folks that attend have a really good time.

“If we can help with the survival of even one baby, then we have done what we set out to do.

“It’s just an urge we seem to have to help the charity.”

Taking to the stage at the rock concert will be bands Both Barrels, Stillife, Roadway and Ruff Cut Blues Band, with a fifth band still to be selected. There will also be a small raffle on the night, with Mrs Cowe hoping to raise at least £2500 from the rock night and auction.

Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome is caused by abnormal connecting blood vessels in the placenta which allow blood from one twin to transfuse into the other twin. It means one twin is starved of oxygen while the second is “overloaded” with blood.

Once thought to be extremely rare, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome is now believed to affect as many as one in 1000 pregnancies.

Anyone who would like to donate to the auction, or any bands who would like to play at the rock night on October 6, should e-mail [email protected] Tickets for the rock night cost £10.