WATCH: Heartbroken parents had to leave other children behind to save baby

A couple with two children felt the world had collapsed around them when a year and a half ago, the mother who was about to give birth had to travel urgently to the UK because there were problems with her unborn child. Alison and Stephen told TVM that the worst part was having to leave their other two children behind and spending two months separated from them.

Alison and Stephen Agius were overjoyed to be expecting their third child until they were told at the hospital that the baby in the womb had a tear in its lung and that it needed an urgent operation.

Alison said, “we did not know how long we were going to stay and what was going to happen – it was very difficult.”

She added that the trauma was very hard because they had to leave their two other children behind, Nicole, 16, and Chanelle, 14. The couple said they could barely look at their children’s faces when they were at the airport.

Stephen said,  “it is very painful to hug your children goodbye, and to have to travel suddenly out of the blue from one day to the next.”

Alison added, “it was so heartbreaking, they could barely speak, none of us could really say anything, we hugged each other and they left with my mother.”

However, thanks to the Malta Community Chest Fund, in the two months that the couple spent in the UK for treatment, they had a lot of support, both with accommodation and even with living expenses. Alison said that in the Community Chest Fund they found another family which took care of them.

“L-Istrina has become part of our family …the appeals to donate are so important and we will never forget the help they have given to people like us.”

Alison and Stephen are among the many families who give a helping hand during L-Istrina, which takes place on Boxing Day in aid of families like them who find a shoulder to lean on when they are struck by the trauma of illness.