‘Sackfuls’ of knitted sleeves donated after viral appeal

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Catherine McConville’s appeal for knitted cannula covers went viral

A paediatric nurse who appealed for knitted sleeves for premature babies says she now has more than enough – after receiving 48 sackfuls in a week.

Catherine McConville, of the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, asked knitters to create tiny cannula covers for babies in her neo-natal unit.

The online appeal went viral with close to 100,000 shares in just a few days.

She estimated there were “potentially a thousand in each sack” and will offer the surplus to other units.

Mrs McConville, who works in Charles Wolfson Ward with premature babies at the maternity hospital, originally requested a few extra sleeves to cover the intravenous tubes on babies’ arms to stop them scratching themselves.

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The charity has been inundated with the tiny knitted squares

She asked Olivia Cundell, creator of the Warm Baby Project, to help her spread the word by posting on the project’s Facebook page.

The post read: “We have lots of babies receiving IV antibiotics and use little knitted tubes to cover the cannulas.

“They are single patient use and we never have a good supply. I have written some instructions and would be so grateful for your help.”

The appeal generated offers from Dubai, the United States and Australia, although the sacks are filled with UK-made sleeves.

Mrs McConville, a mother of four, said processing the volume of donations has been “quite a task”.

“It has had quite a positive psychological benefit for the parents too, who are often quite scared to look at their babies or handle them – this helps,” she said.

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Naomi Walker wrote on Facebook: “Means you can still hold their little hands. Lovely idea.”

Mrs McConville’s unit now has enough hand-knitted sleeves and the surplus will be offered to other neo-natal units that need them.

She said all the donated items had been washed before being taken to the ward and used on any baby.

Ms Cundell, who set the project up two years ago, said there had been a significant rise in offers of wool, materials and monetary donations, as well as people offering their craft skills.

“A lot of people out there do just want to help,” she said.

“It’s giving purpose to all those people who are knitting as well as helping the babies.”

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