The local ice hockey community is rallying round a very special young lady and her family to raise money for a local hospital which helped save her life when she was born.
Young Millie Andreucci was born on Burns’ Day, 25 January, but she weighed only 20 ounces after arriving 14 weeks prematurely, and her parents feared the worst. “She was absolutely tiny when she was born, she fitted into the palm of my hand, but she is a real fighter and with Crosshouse Hospital’s Neonatal Unit providing 24 hour round the clock care for a number of months, she pulled round,” said dad Ross Andreucci, a member of the Kilmarnock Storm ice hockey team which plays in the Scottish National Ice Hockey League, and a member of the Paisley Pirates championship winning side of 2013.
“It was four and a half months before we got her home, during which time she spend 3 weeks in a Glasgow neonatal unit, as it took a while before she was pronounced fit enough to join the rest of her family, but it was well worth the wait after all the trials and tribulations of the previous few months,” he went on. “She’s now a fighting 11 lb 11 ounces and you wouldn’t know in looking at her how much she’s already been through in her short life. We’re so proud of her and just so delighted that she’s home and with us now.”
Ross, who works as a groundsman at Ayr Racecourse, explained how he and his partner wanted to do something practical to say “Thank you” for what they had done for Millie, and that was where the idea of the charity ice hockey match began to come together. “I spoke to a few team mates who play with me at Kilmarnock, guys like former Pirates Kris Underwood and Scott Blackwell, and even talked Graeme Lester, a big favourite with the Paisley Pirates in his hey day, out of retirement to play, but I’ve had support from all over. Cold Blooded Sports have donated items to the event, and all the jerseys will bear the name “Millie’s Marvels”. We’ve got a few other fundraising projects on during the match like a prize auction and an open skating session between 3.15pm and 4.00pm, and all money made will of course go to the Neonatal Unit at Crosshouse Hospital. So many people have come forward and offered their services free of charge, it’s heartwarming to see how folk have rallied round to support this event, which will take place at the Ayr Ice Rink, Limekilns Rd, at 5.00pm next Saturday. I’m hoping we’ll get a healthy turnout of fans for the game, as every admission means more vital funds will be raised for an absolutely vital service which, as we know only too well, literally saves lives.”