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Parents raise funds for NICU that cared for their dying son

by Ronnie Koenig / / Source: TODAY Contributor

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When Brendan and Amy Sadgrove lost their premature baby, Jack Riley Sadgrove, just weeks after his birth they never could have imagined the outpouring of support from family, friends and even total strangers. The selfless couple decided to direct all of the donations from a GoFundMe page dedicated to Jack toward supporting the very NICU that cared for him and tried to save his young life.

Amy Sadgrove holds baby Jack, whose nickname was "Jack Sparrow."
Amy Sadgrove holds baby Jack, whose nickname was "Jack Sparrow." Courtesy of Brendan Sadgrove

Baby Jack, nicknamed Jack Sparrow, was born 15 weeks early, at only 24 weeks, on January 21, 2017 at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick, Australia. Brendan Sadgrove said that the team of doctors and nurses in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit went above and beyond to try and save the couple's son.

Baby Jack, nicknamed Jack Sparrow, was born at only 24 weeks and five days on January 21, 2017.
Baby Jack, nicknamed Jack Sparrow, was born at only 24 weeks and five days on January 21, 2017.Courtesy of Brendan Sadgrove

“He passed away peacefully on his mummy’s chest and with his daddy by his side,” Brendan Sadgrove wrote in an emotional Facebook post on March 3. His sister-in-law, Tessa Piper, started the GoFundMe page, which has since raised more than $57,000.

RELATED: Things I wish I’d known about having a baby in the NICU

“We had so many people surrounding us that just wanted to do something to help, but there just isn’t anything they can do,” Sadgrove told TODAY Parents. “This was a fantastic way that people could pitch in and make a big difference to helping save the most vulnerable babies' lives.”

Baby Jack passed away just weeks after his birth.
Baby Jack passed away just weeks after his birth.Courtesy of Brendan Sadgrove

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Brendan Sadgrove says that the page was originally set up to help the couple while they were not working. But instead they decided to donate all the funds to the hospital to help the NICU that tried to save their son. The team of doctors there worked tirelessly to help Jack battle infection and kidney failure. The Sadgroves hope the efforts will benefit other vulnerable babies like Jack.

The Sadgroves started and Go Fund Me and decided to donate all the funds to the hospital to help the NICU that tried to save their son.
The Sadgroves started and Go Fund Me and decided to donate all the funds to the hospital to help the NICU that tried to save their son.Brendan Sadgrove

“I couldn’t believe how much the NICU is in desperate need of funds to buy even the most basic items like proper chairs for parents, crib covers, right up to vital breathing machines and humidicribs,” he said. “About 70 percent of the equipment in the NICU has been purchased by private donations. It is astonishing to me to see how reliant such a vital hospital ward is on donations.”

RELATED: Inspiring calendar shows kids who spent months in the NICU

There’s certainly no doubt that little Jack Sparrow’s short life touched many people.

Little Jack Sparrow touched many people in his short life.
Little Jack Sparrow touched many people in his short life. Courtesy of Brendan Sadgrove

“We have got 30 of our friends and family running for Jack as part of the Running for Premature Babies Team in the SMH Half Marathon,” said Sadgrove. But the support has also come from people that the Sadgroves have never even met.

“We had a stranger deliver us a box of frozen meals to the NICU with a note saying, ‘You don’t know me, but I thought this would help,’” said Sadgrove. “It really gives you faith in society and the inherent good in people.”

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