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A lasting gift in memory of Isaac

Isaac Baker was just two years old when he died at the end of 2013.  A fund set up in his memory is helping to transform the lives of other children with life-limiting conditions.

“We wanted something positive to come out of a very negative situation,” said Isaac’s mum, Sophie Baker.  “Having seen first-hand the superb work done by Southampton Hospital Charity and the Anthony Nolan Trust, they were obvious charities to support.

“Isaac had a bone marrow transplant in March 2013, and we’ll always be grateful to the donor who gave him a chance of a healthy life.  Without the donor register run by the Anthony Nolan Trust, he wouldn’t have even had that chance.  

“We spent the last four months of Isaac’s life on the Paediatric Medical Unit at Southampton General Hospital, and that inspired us to fundraise for new equipment for that ward.  We want to raise money to make sure the children there receive the best care possible.”

Over the last 15 months, Isaac’s Gift has raised almost £27,000 from various events.  This has enabled the ward to buy six new heart monitors and has paid for 140 potential bone marrow donors to be added to the Anthony Nolan register.  


A very special new chair

Isaac’s Gift has also funded a specialist chair to help children with very complex needs gain a greater level of independence.

Andy Baker, Isaac’s dad, explains why this gift has a very special meaning to them; “Isaac had many complications following his bone marrow transplant, one of which left him almost completely paralysed.  In less than a week, he went from being a bright, cheery toddler to being unable to move, so when the occupational therapists were able to provide him with a chair to help him sit up, it made a real difference to him.  

“When a child needs a specialist chair, like Isaac did, that can take several weeks to order.  We wanted to give the occupational therapy team a chair that they can lend to a wide range of children in the hospital at a moment’s notice, so they can have the benefit of sitting up and being able to play with their toys again as soon as they are able.”

“As Isaac got his mobility back, one of the things he really loved most was drawing,” Sophie adds.  “I’ll never forget the massive smile on his face the first time that we gave him some felt-tips to use, after five months of not being able to do anything.  He was so proud of what he was able to achieve – and that was all made possible because he had a specialist chair to support him.”


A gift from ExxonMobil

Sophie and Andy both work at ExxonMobil, Fawley and Isaac’s Gift was recently boosted by a donation from ExxonMobil.  The company donated money to charity for each day with no significant safety incidents during a large project at the Fawley site.  The project was successfully completed with zero injuries, resulting in a donation of just over £3,000.

Sophie adds: “Andy and I are incredibly grateful for the support we’ve had from everyone over the last year, and we’re not stopping fundraising yet.  At the end of April, we’ll both be running the Southampton half marathon with the aim of raising even more.” 

“It’s a real comfort to know that Isaac’s short life has had such a big impact.”

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