Greek Cypriot Maria Kontos is holding a fundraising event on Friday 21st October 2016 to raise funds for the Fetal Medicine Foundation, a charity which provides care for pregnant women by doctors who have trained in ultrasound scanning and fetal medicine under Professor Kypros Nicolaides.

The event, which will take place at East Barnet School is being held in memory of Maria’s twin daughters Lily and Elissa. Here’s her story…

After a happy and healthy pregnancy during my holiday in Ibiza, 25 weeks pregnant with my twin girls, the unimaginable happened. A week into my holiday my waters broke and I went into labour. My contractions needed to be stopped as I had to be flown to a hospital in Palma, Mallorca immediately, as there was no neonatal intensive care unit or facilities in Ibiza for my girls or I to have any chance of survival. After 4 days of bed rest, medication and scans checking to see if my daughters were ok as there was no amniotic fluid left, I went into labour again. 

On 5th October 2012, my precious identical twin daughters Lily and Elissa were born at 27 weeks. After fighting for their lives, and being looked after in NICU, very sadly Elissa passed away after 8 hours and Lily passed away after 9 days on 14th October. They were so beautiful and perfect in every way but just too tiny to survive. 

My world fell apart, all of my hopes and dreams were taken away from me the day my daughters left. My life will never be the same again, not a day passes by where I don’t think of my darling daughters, all the ifs, whys and should have beens. I love and miss them so much it hurts. I will carry this pain until the day I am reunited with them. 

The cause of me going into labour was due to contracting twin to twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS), it is a disease of the placenta that affects identical twin pregnancies. TTTS affects identical twins who share a common monochorionic placenta. TTTS can occur at any time in the pregnancy, even when the mother is in labour at term. It occurs in 50 out of 100,000 pregnancies. In TTTS, the blood goes from one twin to the other, but one baby receives more blood than it gives up. Crook and victim, Professor Kypros Nicolaides calls them, but both are at risk.

Ever since they left I’ve wanted to create something positive from this devastating tragedy and help prevent someone else from going through the heartache and pain my family and I are enduring.

In honour of Lily and Elissa, I am organising a charity event collaborating with the wonderful, talented Marianna Neofitou who is the UK ambassador for Opa-cize Greek dance fitness. The event will be held on Friday 21st October 2016, 7.15pm-11pm at East Barnet School, and will involve an hour Greek dance fitness class instructed by Marianna followed by nibbles, homemade cakes and refreshments and lots more dancing. My personal challenge will be to get on the stage with Marianna for a couple of the songs, which gives me anxiety just thinking about it as it’s something I would never do. Please come and join the fun and laughter with your friends and family and support a worthy cause.

The Fetal Medicine Foundation aims to improve the health of pregnant women and their babies through research and training in fetal medicine. 17 babies a day are either stillborn or die within the first 28 days of life. Over 6,500 babies are dying every year.

The Foundation has supported research and training in the following areas:

– Early diagnosis of fetal abnormalities

– Screening for chromosomal defects

– Intrauterine fetal surgery

– Causes and prevention of miscarriage and stillbirth

– Prediction and prevention of pre-term delivery

– Preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction

– Problems of multiple pregnancies

– Development of safer techniques for prenatal diagnosis

Maria, who has previously raised £11,000 for Tamba (Twins & Multiple Births Association) by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, told Parikiaki, “I really believe that Professor Kypros Nicolaides and his team are going to make a huge difference with ladies during pregnancy and avoid this from happening to other parents. With your help and support we can really make a difference so please donate whatever you can. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your support.”

To donate, please visit Maria’s JustGiving page


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