Connor is a little treasure

Connor with his mother Kerrie Watkins. Photo by Joe Mastroianni.

By Alesha Capone

A walk later this month will celebrate children like young Connor.

The Hoppers Crossing boy and his mother, Kerrie Watkins, have taken part in Walk for Prems the past two years.

The annual event raises funds for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation.

Miss Watkins said that during 2016, when she was 22 weeks pregnant, she started having severe migraines.

She was referred to Sunshine Hospital, where she was given medication to help her rising blood pressure and a steroid injection to help Connor’s lung development.

Miss Watkins was then transferred to the Royal Women’s Hospital, where she developed pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome.

With medication still not helping her rising blood pressure, Miss Watkins was told that she needed an emergency cesarean.

“It was really scary, but you’re obviously thinking that you’re doing the best for your baby,” she said.

“It helped when my parents came to the hospital.

“The support and strength of my parents, especially my mother Anne saying ‘You can do this,’ and ‘You will be alright,’ was amazing.”

Connor was born not breathing and had to be resuscitated.

He stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Units for 128 days and underwent surgery for a bilateral hernia at the Royal Children’s Hospital.

Connor is now three years old, but Miss Watkins said his “corrected age” (which refers to the developmental age of a baby born prematurely) is two-and-a-half years.

Connor continues to experience breathing difficulties because his lungs were not fully developed at birth. Otherwise, he is a happy boy who loves the Wiggles, making artwork and taking photos.

Miss Watkins encouraged Wyndham residents to support the Walk for Prems, which will be held at Albert Park Lake on Sunday, October 27.

Register for the walk at Cost: $44 for adults, $20 for children and $10 for babies.