Intrepid cyclist Katie shares her own experience of growing up after being born extremely premature…

My name is Katie Hendry and I was born at 23 Katiebabywebready.jpgweeks in March 1995, weighing 1lb 07 ounces.

I spent the first 6 months of my life being oxygenated in Hillingdon Hospital under the intensive and special care baby unit. When I was just a few months old I was taken to Hammersmith Hospital for laser eye surgery to save my eyesight which had been damaged by the amount of oxygen I had been on. I wear glasses all the time now.

My lungs were very weak when I was born and were not formed properly. When I came home from hospital in the September I was kept on oxygen for another 2 years - wherever my mum and dad went they had to carry the oxygen cylinder around with them.

I live at home with my mum, dad, older brother and sister in West Sussex. I also have a little terrier cross called Suzi. I have chosen a career in Administration and have just successfully completed my Level 2 Business and Administration qualification. I am about to start my Level 3 course.

I have always had incredibly strong support and encouragement from my family and close friends throughout my whole life. This has certainly played a huge part in achieving my goals and getting me to where I am today.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my friends and family and walking down the beach with my dog. I volunteer on a Saturday morning to help an elderly lady clean her house which I have been doing for 3 years. I enjoy helping her because I have always been interested in caring for other people.Katie19webready.jpg

I feel that being extremely premature hasn’t stopped me enjoying life like any other person. Unfortunately I am unable to learn to drive due my eyesight being so damaged by the oxygen when I was a baby. I am unable to pass the number plate test but I have bought myself a bike so I have my own mode of transport, however I am still able to reach the goals and aspirations I have in my life.

Being premature does make me realise how lucky I am to be here today and to have received the outstanding care I did when I was a baby.

I really enjoy being a part of Epicure and keeping up to date with all the research they do to help other babies who are premature and their families. I am very much looking forward to taking part in Epicure@19.