I am the chairman of the health in pregnancy charity, MAMA Academy, and we are helping to promote the innovative project, 24Weekers to help save babies lives.
In January 2005, Karen Entwistle was 24 weeks pregnant and experiencing discomfort. She sat up awake one night watching the baby channel - a program about babies being born prematurely due to the blood condition Group B Strep. What she had seen played on her mind, and so when she next passed water, she did so in a clear glass. The fluid was cloudy and she knew it wasn't right. This was the start of what would be the most dramatic roller-coaster of a year.
Alan took Karen to their local hospital. She was told her 'plug' had come away and she was in premature labour. They tried to slow things down but were unsuccessful and eventually Karen and Alan were told that Jack would be born within 24 hours at just 24weeks gestation which was due to Group B Strep.
Jack weighed just 1lb 6oz and was the size of his daddy's hand. Karen and Alan had to fight every step of the way for Jack's survival and for their own sanity. Thankfully, Jack was one of the lucky micro-preemies, he survived and is now a healthy and happy seven-year-old. He is not without his problems though. He only has 25% vision and has recently been diagnosed as autistic, but he's an intelligent, fun-loving little boy.
In the months that followed Jack's discharge from hospital, Alan started to develop the idea of writing a movie script based on their experience. He made a promotional trailer to share with the world and assist with raising the finance to make the movie, 24weekers.
The main aims of the movie are:
To raise awareness of Group B Strep
Educate mums on certain warning signs of infection and premature labour
To share many parents NICU experiences
To prove that babies born this early can and do survive
The script has received some fantastic feedback from those who have read it so far, and as a result, they have some great names attached to the project:
Full Monty and Coronation Street star Steve Huison is to play the quirky consultant 'Eastman'
Star of stage and TV, Kate Coogan will be the leading lady 'Karen'
Billy Elliot star Stuart Wells has the role of the handsome doctor 'Enrique'
Hollyoaks and Grange Hill regular Amber Hodgkiss is to play preemie mum 'Alison'
How you can help
In order to fund the making of 24weekers, the team behind it, which Alan & Karen spearhead, have created a 'crowd-funding' campaign on the successful Kickstarter website. The 24weekers project was launched on the 31st October and will end on the 12th December with a target budget of £94,000! This figure is the minimum required to cover the full production of the movie, and if the full target is not raised by the 12th December, 24weekers will not receive a penny.
Anyone in the world can pledge any amount they would like (min £1) towards the funding of the film and in return can select from a variety of rewards, ranging from a simple social media 'shout out', a copy of the new ebook '24weekers: The Story', through to a non-speaking role in the film and dinner with the director and some of the cast! There is even an opportunity for preemies to appear in the film itself.
Please take a look at the 24weekers Kickstarter project at:
1. Click on the Kickstarter project link above
2. Watch the trailer
3. Read the pitch
4. Click the green 'Back This Project' button
5. Type in the amount you would like to donate - this can be absolutely anything you choose from £1 upwards.
6. Select the appropriate reward
7. Enter your card details
9. That's it! You've just pledged! Thank you :)
Your card will be authorised but the funds will not be taken until 12th December 2012, provided that the project is successful.
Please share this article to help this vital movie come to a cinema near you!
Thank you for helping us make a difference to babies lives.
Follow Heidi Eldridge on Twitter: www.twitter.com/mamaacademy