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Baby Millie receiving lionhearted support

Lions Mike Clayton, Charlie and Sandra Blake stand behind Caroline and Derek Robertson… in more ways than one. The Yarmouth Lions Club is fundraising to help the couple with mounting medical costs.
Lions Mike Clayton, Charlie and Sandra Blake stand behind Caroline and Derek Robertson… in more ways than one. The Yarmouth Lions Club is fundraising to help the couple with mounting medical costs.

YARMOUTH - Even before her birth, Baby Millie is receiving love, support and prayers and is nestled in the hearts of so many.

Millie is the daughter of Yarmouth residents Derek and Caroline Robertson. Her parents learned midway through Caroline’s pregnancy that the baby has a serious heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndome.

They were told that just a few days after delivery the newborn will be whisked into heart surgery at a Toronto hospital.

But on the weekend came word that Baby Millie has developed a new issue with her heart and needs surgery even before she is born.

Millie is the daughter of Yarmouth residents Derek and Caroline Robertson. Her parents learned midway through Caroline’s pregnancy that the baby has a serious heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndome.

They were told that just a few days after delivery the newborn will be whisked into heart surgery at a Toronto hospital.

But on the weekend came word that Baby Millie has developed a new issue with her heart and needs surgery even before she is born.

On the ‘Fundraising for Baby Girl Robertson’ GoFundMe page that is raising money to help the couple with the mounting medical expenses, Caroline’s mother, Laura King, posted on Saturday that the young couple has been told that Baby Millie needs immediate surgery while still in the womb. The couple left for The Hospital for Sick Children over the weekend. The surgery takes place Tuesday.

It was after a routine ultrasound in Yarmouth months ago that the couple was referred to a Halifax hospital for closer examination.

“I thought everything was going well… but then the doctor came in and everyone was very quiet…” said Caroline.

Just over two years ago, she and Derek moved to Yarmouth for her new job as town planner. They bought a century-old Queen Anne style home in centretown and Derek landed a position with Tri-Star Industries as a graphic designer.

SWITCH was a new event for Yarmouth this year. The event, which was held four times, saw the closure of a section of Main Street to vehicles so that vendors, artists, sports and musicians could take over.

One of Caroline’s first jobs was conducting a review of the municipal planning strategy and land use bylaw to make the town more open for development. The work was considerable and required several by-law revisions and a lot of public participation.

As part of the revitalization, council stood behind her suggestion to implement SWITCH – a new concept that saw the closure of a section of Main Street to vehicles on some Sundays so that vendors, artists, sports and musicians could take over. Robertson partnered with the recreation department to make the event a success.

She was also working with a committee towards the establishment of a dog park, until her departure on medical leave.

Baby Millie’s condition was already going to require her parents to travel to Toronto in early December, a month before the baby is due, and reside there until after surgeries following her birth. Doctor’s appointments in Halifax have also been necessary every two weeks during the pregnancy.

With a surgery taking place this week, Derek has now had to leave his job earlier than expected. So with the emotional stress is the ongoing financial stress.

As mentioned, financial donations are being accepted through the Fundraising for Baby Girl Robertson GoFundMe page.

The young couple is receiving lionhearted support as well.

Caroline’s father is a long-standing member of the Bedford Lions Club. She’s well acquainted with the extraordinary deeds Lions are capable of. The Yarmouth Lions Club, one of 68 clubs in the province, has stepped up to help. Baby Millie will be the Yarmouth chapter’s centennial project, says president Sandra Blake.

In 2017, Lions Clubs International will be celebrating its 100th year. In the past, the Yarmouth club has assisted a toddler that developed bone cancer and a young boy who required open-heart surgery at the Boston Children’s Hospital.

A fundraiser for Baby Millie and her parents is planned for Dec. 18 with a roast beef supper at the Lions Club hall (87 Parade St.), combined with a silent auction.

“It will be a total community affair,” said Lion Charlie Blake.

Baby Millie’s parents Caroline and Derek cannot say enough about the kindness and support of not only the Lions, but the rest of the community as well as they concentrate on their baby daughter.

“We’re really, really thankful. This community has just been amazing,” says Caroline. “We’re newcomers (but) we really don’t feel that way.”

Ways you can help

Tickets ($15) for the Yarmouth Lions Club supper on Dec. 18 can be obtained through a Lions Club member, by calling the hall at 902-742-2551 or contacting Lion Mike Clayton (902-740-0167) or Yarmouth Lions President Sandra Blake (902-742-9762).

Tickets are available through Lions Club members or at the door. Advance purchases are preferable.

There is also a GoFundMe campaign underway for Baby Girl Robertson. You can contribute through this link

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