A mother has released a heartbreaking video of her son’s last days to raise awareness of the dangers of whooping cough.
Catherine Hughes, whose son Riley passed away in March last year, has decided to make the video public in the hope that it will ‘convince just one more pregnant mum to protect their baby from this disease’.
Sharing the short clip on her Facebook page, Light for Riley, Catherine writes:
‘These are the final videos of our beautiful son Riley who passed away from whooping cough on the 17th of March, 2015.
I have always kept these videos to myself, as it makes my blood run cold listening to my beautiful boy cough like that. But we are sharing this in the hopes that it will convince just one more pregnant Mum to protect their baby from this disease. I wish I had known about pregnancy vaccination when I was pregnant with Riley.
In the beginning, Riley didn’t have a “whoop” sound in his cough, but it certainly developed once he was in hospital. If your newborn baby has a cough, and is too young to be vaccinated, please get them checked out by a doctor! Early intervention CAN help.
I loved being Riley’s Mum for those four weeks. I wish it were longer. Please share to help ensure no more babies die from this disease, which I hope one day will be relegated to the history books.
– Riley’s Mum x’
The moving film has since been shared more than 4,000 times.
Speaking in an interview with Guardian Australia, Catherine added: ‘I really want people to know that pregnancy vaccination means we now have the power to minimise – if not completely stop – deaths from whooping cough,’ she said.
‘It’s so amazing that we can now protect our babies before they are even born. Immunity is such an important gift we can give our children.’
Whooping cough can occur in anyone, but is especially dangerous in babies under six months of age. In the UK, all pregnant women are offered vaccination against whooping cough when they are 28-38 weeks pregnant. According to the NHS, ‘Getting vaccinated while you’re pregnant could help to protect your baby from developing whooping cough in its first few weeks of life.’
For more information about the whooping cough vaccine, visit nhs.uk or contact your GP.