Wimblington mum plans night of burlesque to support little known charity that has helped her family
A professional actress and mum is set to celebrate her 40th birthday in awesome style and raise much needed funding for a special charity that has helped her and her son.
Laura Barker, from Wimblington, whose stage name is Phoxy Qurvy has been behind numerous charity cabaret nights in the county dating back to 2018 - now she is set to hold a 40th birthday bash "to die for".
This time Phoxy Qurvy Productions is bringing a three-act burlesque, cabaret and theatre extravaganza entitled 'Get Your Phox Off' to Doddington Village Hall next month and it is in aid of a little known charity TOFs.
TOFs offers lifelong support to people like Laura's six-year-old son Roman, who was born unable to swallow.
The charity like Laura turns 40 this year and with her birthday on February 2 and Roman's on February 7 she has decided to stage her latest fundraising extravaganza between the two on February 5.
Roman, who is the youngest of Laura's three children, she also has daughters Phoebe, 13 and Romy 11, had to be rushed to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge after he was born by caesarean at Hinchingbrook Hospital in Huntingdon.
Laura, a professional actress who has done theatre and countrywide tours before having her children, explained: "I had no idea what was going on, I was only able to see Roman very briefly before he was whisked away. The doctors were trying to explain what was wrong, but I wasn't really taking it in.
"They said he had to go immediately either to Addenbrooke's or Great Ormond Street and needed emergency surgery.
"I eventually understood that Roman was born unable to swallow as his oesophagus was basically a dead leading to just a pouch, and there was a big gap to his stomach.
"The operation he needed was to stretch his oesophagus and join it to his stomach and he was only a few hours old when he underwent the surgery. After that he was paralysed to stop him moving about, which meant I was unable to hold him, he was like that for eight days - it was very hard not being able to cuddle him."
Roman's condition was also complicated by the fact he was born with a cleft soft palate and two holes in his heart.
He has undergone more than 20 operations and faces further surgeries as he gets older. He is registered disabled because of his inability to swallow properly and he still has to have top up feeds through a tube in his stomach.
What causes the condition is unclear but Laura said there are some thoughts that it might be genetic.
She underwent a caesarean to have Roman because she had an excessive amount of amniotic fluid, caused it was later discovered because of his inability to swallow - normally babies will drink some of the fluid.
"I had extra scans, but none of them picked up on any of his problems, so it was a real shock to find out he had so many issues, especially as he was born at a healthy 7lbs 11ozs. Like everyone else, I had never heard of the condition which is known as tracheo-oesophageal fistula (TOF) Roman also has Oesophageal atresia (O/A).
Without the support of @tofs.uk and all the amazing surgeons, carers, nurses, health visitors, speech and language therapists, dieticians and all the other wonderful NHS staff and volunteers my lovely little Roman soldier wouldn’t have survived his 20 plus operations.
"Although he is ‘repaired’ he will never be ‘cured’. This is a lifelong condition."
Tickets for the fundraising show are available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/.../get-your-phox-off...
Or if you cannot attend in person please you can still support from afar by getting an online live stream ticket that is available for up to a week after to watch at your leisure. Get live stream tickets here: Uncagedtv.uk/phoxoff
Laura, who teaches burlesque classes in Wimblington, and some of her graduates will be joining the professional performers for the show, added: "You’ll see the hottest award-winning performers from the world of cabaret, burlesque and theatre but you’ll also get a warm fuzzy feeling from helping families and children born with his rare condition - it’s a total win win!"