Mandy Marsden

I’m Mum to Josh and Darcy, twins born at 23 weeks and 5 days. Apart from the shock of finding out we were expecting two babies, I had a fairly smooth pregnancy-until 23 weeks and 3 days.

I went into labour in my hometown in Cumbria and was immediately told that there was nothing that could be done-the babies were coming. I had no pains and, were it not for a show, I would never have guessed I was in labour. Since the babies showed little sign of arriving soon, we made the decision to be taken by ambulance to Teesside, where two NICU beds were free to take our twins. It was a terrifying ride.


The twins were born in North Tees on Monday the 2nd of March 2015. They both ended up being transferred to The RVI for emergency surgery. They also had cardiac surgery at the Freeman and were transported between those hospitals by both the RVI and James Cook transfer teams.

The 5 months we spent in hospital with Josh and Darcy were the hardest of my life. Rollercoaster barely even describes the emotional turmoil. The twins were dangerously close to dying several times, and I often felt completely broken.


When we returned home, life was just as difficult. Two babies on oxygen with complex medical needs, and very little community support. I was scared and sad a lot of the time. No one understood what we were going through.

My husband, my best friend, a fantastic community nurse and our founder, Lottie, helped me through. I’m so passionate about being a part of Leo’s, to try and give back and change the way families of sick and premature babies are supported.


Facts & Figures

79% of parents said a neonatal stay affected their mental health

Leo’s saw a 337% increase in need due to COVID-19

Did you know, reading to your baby in the NICU helps their development?

Leo's Neonatal

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