Bulwell mum to brave the shave in daughter's memory to help the British Heart Foundation

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A Bulwell mother whose young daughter died suddenly, will be raising funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to mark what would have been her 18th birthday.

Clare Collier, 41, will be braving a head shave and holding a family fun day this month in memory of her daughter Lucia Donkin, who passed away aged just 11.

Before her death, Lucia had suffered several health battles.

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Aged eight, she was admitted to hospital with flu, and a scan revealed that this had caused a rare build-up of fluid around her heart and lungs.

Lucia Donkin would have been 18 this monthLucia Donkin would have been 18 this month
Lucia Donkin would have been 18 this month

Lucia’s condition worsened to the point where she needed a treatment called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), where a machine outside the body takes over the function of the lungs and the heart.

Clare, said: “Lucia had a cough and cold at first, but she gradually felt worse.

“Her heart and lungs just couldn’t cope with the fact that she was so poorly.

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“She was treated at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester and spent that Christmas in hospital.

"At one point it was touch and go whether she would survive, which was terrifying.”

However, against the odds, Lucia was able to come off the treatment and was discharged from hospital.

"She was monitored regularly and follow up tests and scans found no further problems with her heart.

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But in March 2016, Lucia fell ill again with flu-like symptoms and when her health began to worsen, she was taken to hospital.

Scans showed that Lucia’s heart function was rapidly deteriorating, and whilst awaiting further treatment, she had a sudden cardiac arrest in her hospital bed.

Despite the best efforts of medics, nothing could be done to save her.

Tragically, Lucia’s death fell the day before Mother’s Day.

A post-mortem found that influenza had caused acute heart failure, from which Lucia couldn’t recover – which is extremely rare.

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Clare continued: “Lucia had been smiling and laughing with the paramedics in the ambulance, and whilst in hospital she was drinking and eating.

"She seemed to be getting better, so the cardiac arrest just came completely out of the blue.

“I can remember that day like it was yesterday.

"The hardest part was having to tell Lucia’s sister Amber, who was so close to her.

"Her other sister, Amelia, was only one years old at the time.

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“Lucia was so bubbly and positive – she would do anything for anyone.

"She loved singing, dancing and acting and had dreams of becoming an entertainer.

"She was taken from us far too soon and we all miss her so much.”

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The impact the illness had on Lucia’s heart encouraged Clare to support the BHF and she has previously held jumble sales and sponsored walks for the charity.

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This year, Lucia would have turned 18 – so to mark the occasion, Clare decided she would host two further fund-raising events.

A family fun day will take place at Oakleigh Lodge in Bulwell from 12noon to 4pm on Sunday, March 13, which will include music, a tombola, raffle and balloon release.

Clare will then undergo a head shave on the Monday, March 14 which would have been Lucia’s 18th birthday.

Clare said: “We know Lucia would have celebrated her 18th birthday in a big way so, this year, we wanted to do something bigger and better for the BHF.

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“Her death impacted the whole community, so this is a chance to get everyone together and do something special to remember Lucia by.

"We’ve had so much support from the people and businesses of Bulwell, it really has been incredible.

“Raising funds for the BHF means so much, as we know we are helping to fund research into heart and circulatory conditions and hopefully help prevent other families from going through what we went through.”

Money raised by Clare will help the BHF fund life saving research into heart and circulatory conditions, like heart failure, stroke and vascular dementia and their risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

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In Nottinghamshire alone, around 125,000 people are living with heart and circulatory diseases – and every three hours, someone in the county sadly dies from one of these conditions.

Paula Scaife, BHF’s fundraising manager for Nottinghamshire, said: “We are so grateful that Clare has generously decided to raise funds for the BHF, by holding these events in memory of Lucia.

“For more than 60 years, the public’s generosity has funded BHF research that has turned ideas that once seemed like 'science fiction' into treatments and cures that save lives every day.

"But millions of people are still waiting for the next breakthrough.

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“It is only with donations from people like Clare that we can keep our research going and discover the treatments and cures of the future.

"We now urgently need more support and would encourage people in Nottinghamshire to get in touch with us to find out how they can help.”

To donate towards Clare’s fundraising, click here.

Any companies wishing to donate a raffle prize can contact Clare directly by emailing [email protected]

Anyone interested in raising funds for the BHF can contact Paula Scaife by emailing [email protected] or calling 07384 818571.

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