Northern Ireland’s premature baby charity TinyLife is hosting a sponsored guided walk up Cuilcagh mountain this May.

The sponsored guided walk via the Cuilcagh Boardwalk, fondly known as the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ will take place on Sunday, May 12.

TinyLife’s Head of Fundraising and Communications, Val Cromie said: “Over 2,000 babies are born too soon, too small or too sick in Northern Ireland each year. Some arrive as early as 24 weeks, weighing as little as 1lb/454 grams, the same weight as half a bag of sugar!”

She continued: “At this understandably very stressful time for parents, TinyLife is there to provide practical advice, emotional support and to give a helping hand to families who have a baby in a neonatal intensive care unit.

“With our network of Family Support professionals in every neonatal unit across Northern Ireland, we ensure parents receive optimum support in hospital, at home and within the community.

“As a small local charity, every penny raised through our events helps the six families locally, affected by prematurity every day.”

TinyLife was there for Ballygawley mum Jayne Farmer, when daughter Ariana was born on December 2, 2016 in Craigavon Area Hospital in Portadown. Little Ariana spent the next six months in hospital due to congenital Myotonic Dystrophy.

Jayne explained: “Ariana was born prematurely because of Myotonic Dystrophy. We have since discovered that my dad carries the gene and that I had early onset between 18 and 19. The prevalence increases as it progresses through the family, so Ariana developed the congenital condition from birth.”

She continued: “Resuscitated at birth, Ariana’s breathing was restricted meaning she had to be ventilated in hospital. Expressed milk was used for tube feeding; a milk pump was just one of the many services TinyLife offered. I had free usage for six months and found this invaluable.”

Jayne added: “Janice and Catherine, two of TinyLife’s Family Support Officers were both brilliant. They helped with all the practicalities and through Catherine I met Ailish, my TinyLife volunteer. Ailish helped when I couldn’t cope, when I needed a break, a bath, a rest, a chat.

“She knew just when to step in and I felt totally at ease, knowing Ariana was in safe hands. To this day, Ailish still visits every Friday.”

Booking is essential to take part in the sponsored guided walk. For more information visit