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Blennerhassett family celebrate miracle baby Ella’s first birthday with a fundraiser for the University Maternity Hospital Limerick 

Ella Blennerhassett pictured in the University Maternity Hospital Limerick, with her parents Mark and Lisa

Blennerhassett family celebrate miracle baby Ella’s first birthday with a fundraiser for the University Maternity Hospital Limerick 

By I Love Limerick Correspondent Mary Doyle

One-year-old Ella Blennerhassett from Lisnagry, Co. Limerick, is the miracle baby who has spent the first year of her life battling health complications against all the odds. In celebration of her first birthday this month, Ella’s parents Mark and Lisa have launched a Go Fund Me page in aid of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the University Maternity Hospital Limerick.



Ella Blennerhassett

Baby Ella Blennerhassett pictured with her mother Lisa

Ella was born last year over 3 months premature, weighing just 500 grams, making her the smallest baby to be born at the University Maternity Hospital in 2019. She spent the first 7 weeks of her life on life support and would continue to battle a range of health complications throughout her first year of life.

Some of the health difficulties Ella has endured include lung infections, low sodium levels, blood transfusions, retinopathy of prematurity in her eyes, low sugar levels, an open heart vessel, and several other life-threatening scares. When she was 16 days old, Ella stopped breathing and her heart rate dropped so suddenly that her parents, Mark and Lisa Blennerhassett, were called to the hospital at 5.30 am for fear that Ella was about to lose her life. With the life-saving work of the staff in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Ella survived after 15 minutes of CPR and five shots of adrenaline.

Ella faced set-backs – going back into an incubator after four months, constantly undergoing tests and procedures including ultrasounds, antibiotics and morphine sedation to name a few – all within her first few months of life. But this miracle baby continues to fight the odds, bringing joy to her parents and family every day of her life.

12 months on, Ella is healthy, happy, and full of life, and her family is looking forward to celebrating her first birthday with a fundraiser for the extremely vital and hard-working intensive care unit at UMHL. Being their home away from home, Lisa and Mark are beyond grateful for both the life-changing work and emotional support that the incredible staff at UMHL offer, which has saved Ella’s life more than once.

Ella Blennerhassett

Little Ella Blennerhassett, pictured, turns one this month

Lisa Blennerhassett, Ella’s mother, told us, “Ella was born at just 506 grams, the smallest birthweight baby in limerick in 2019. Now she is full of energy and is a big rogue. This day last year she was lying in an incubator on life support and now she is crawling around and brings so much happiness to everyone she meets. After all she has been through and all the appointments she continues to have, she takes it all in her stride.”

The money raised will go towards much-needed resources at UMHL, for babies and their parents in need during what can be such stressful and heartbreaking times.

Lisa added, “After having spent 132 days in the hospital and getting to bring her home, Mark and I had said we would like to do something to mark her first birthday in aid of the NICU. Due to COVID 19, our plans were cancelled, so we set up a Go Fund Me page instead. We are totally blown away by its response and the generosity of everybody. The money will go towards much-needed equipment and resources for the NICU to help babies and their families through their bumpy start in life.”

To donate to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UMHL, click here.

For more fundraiser stories, click here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.