Dialog Box

Introducing our 2024 national Walk for Prems Ambassadors

Carlton Football Club midfielder George Hewett and partner Alice Summers' son Henry was born at 28 weeks' gestation, spending nine weeks in the NICU and Special Care Nursery.

Henry's Story

At 28 weeks’ pregnant, Alice Summers and her Carlton Football Club partner George Hewett were chatting all things baby names, baby showers, and nursery ideas.

When Alice felt a few minor cramps, she presented to the Royal Hospital for Women to be on the safe side, only to be told that she was already 7cm dilated (“Is that a lot?” she asked). 

We arrived at hospital with nothing but the clothes we were wearing and parked 15 minutes away to avoid the ticketed zones," shared Alice. 

“I even laughed as we walked in that I expected George to park a bit closer when I was actually in labour - not realising that, in fact, I was.”

The couple’s son Henry was born at 28 weeks’ gestation on the 12th of January 2020 weighing 1.3 kilos.

“Nothing can prepare you for having to share your first moments with your baby with an entire ward of other shell-shocked parents, other fragile, sick, or premature newborns, and an extensive cast of doctors and clinicians".  

“Holding your baby for the first time 24 hours after they’re born - with two nurses helping to adjust all the tubes and cables - is so precious and so heartbreaking at the same time,” said Alice.  

As babies of Henry’s gestation are unable to perform the suck reflex needed to direct feed via breast or bottle, Alice took to the breast pump every three hours for most of the 9 weeks spent in hospital. 

“In the couple of days I spent in hospital before being discharged, I was frantically searching online for the right kind of pump to hire for overnight expressing at home – two days prior I’d never even heard of breast pumps, and now it was mission critical that I find one!  


“This is just one of the supports that LLTF offers - the Breast Pump Program with Medela equips new mothers with a top of the range breast pump, which is critical in establishing their milk supply,” Alice shared.  

During Henry’s time in the NICU and Special Care Nursery, Alice and George were surrounded by other families going through similar experiences, however upon discharge the couple felt adrift, seemingly entirely alone in their new parenting experience.  


Henry came home in March 2020, just as COVID was ramping up.  

“George’s family was in South Australia, mine made it back to London just before the borders closed, and the fragility of Henry’s immune system made us extra cautious in seeing friends,” Alice reflected.

“I was glad to be added to the local (virtual – thanks COVID!) mothers’ group, and looked forward to some camaraderie, empathy and shared parenting tips. However, this group was full of mothers of term babies hitting milestones early and 90th centile babies already growing out of size 1 clothes (Henry was still in 0000)".  

“I felt simultaneously desperately sad and utterly furious that not one of them asked, listened, or offered support.  

“Fortunately, one of the families we had connected with in the NICU had the forethought to gather contact details from us and many others before we left hospital.  

“When their little boy was discharged, this wonderful family took it upon themselves to create a community.  

“To this day, the parents who shared our NICU journey are the only ones who truly understand what we experienced, and who can fully appreciate the magnitude of the every-day victories of our tiny humans,” Alice said. 

Alice’s advice for families currently in the throes of NICU or SCN?  

"Make connections if you can. I understand it may feel too overwhelming to reach outside of your tiny bubble and to intrude into the private and often pain-filled bubbles of those families around you".  

“This is where LLTF’s NICU Connections support groups step in, both during your baby’s time in hospital, and after they come home".  

“I believe this community is particularly important for fathers, and creating a safe space for them to connect is truly invaluable,” Alice said.  

And now, with a healthy 4-year-old Henry in tow, Alice and George are representing LLTF on the national stage as our 2024 Walk for Prems Ambassadors, giving back to a community they know needs support and representation.  


“The services provided by LLTF make parents of premature and sick babies feel seen, recognise that their babies are valued, and acknowledge the trauma of the experience.  

By supporting these parents, LLTF can change the lives of whole families in both the short and longer-term."  

04 July 2024
Category: News