A mum from Aldridge, Walsall has been named as this week’s charity champion after using the power of Facebook to raise over £1,700 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, in memory of her daughter.

Zoe Birch, who works as an Operating Department Practitioner in Theatres at the Children’s Hospital, logged into the popular social media site and set up a fundraiser on her 40th birthday, just five days after her 17-year-old daughter Lauren had sadly passed away.

When Lauren was just one, she was diagnosed with L-Carnitine Transporter Deficiency, a rare inherited metabolic condition which meant that she didn’t have the enzyme needed to turn body fat into energy. The condition meant that Lauren was constantly tired and lethargic, but with regular outpatient visits to Birmingham Children’s Hospital to keep her condition in check, she managed to live a relatively normal life until one summer’s day...

In August, Lauren passed away unexpectedly, which was a complete shock to the family. Lauren had been her usually happy self the day before, showing no signs of being ill, so the family was blindsided, and unfortunately, there’s still no clear explanation for why she passed.

Despite her grief, Zoe wanted do something for Lauren, so set up the Facebook fundraiser. Having experienced Birmingham Children’s Hospital both as a parent and a member of staff, there was never any question that Zoe would want any money raised in her daughter’s memory to go to the Hospital Charity. Zoe also asked that any donations at Lauren’s funeral be given to the charity, raising a further £516 in her name.

Following in Zoe’s footsteps, students at Shire Oak Academy in Brownhills, where Lauren was a sixth form student, also did their bit in her memory. They chose to wear red – Lauren’s favourite colour – for one day, raising over £1,500 for the hospital that had been such a big part of their friend’s life.

Zoe said: “Losing Lauren was such a shock and she’s left such a big hole in our lives. Even though we still don’t know whether her rare condition was what caused her to pass away, the treatment and care she received from our brilliant hospital throughout her life was amazing.

“The response to my birthday Facebook Fundraiser has been truly overwhelming and I want to say the biggest thank you to everyone who supported and donated. I’m just so glad to be able to give something back on Lauren’s behalf.”

Miranda Williams, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “We can only imagine the heartbreak and devastation Zoe and her family went through when Lauren passed away, but by fundraising in her memory, Lauren’s legacy will live on in our hospital.

“Being a staff member here herself, Zoe knows the impact the money donated in Lauren’s name will make. It will go towards helping us do more for our young patients, whether improving patient experiences or helping to fund vital research into other rare diseases and conditions, like Lauren’s.”