Researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute have received funding for vital research that aims to improve the quality of life for premature babies.

Charity ByBoet and their supporters raised $20,500 through two events, with the money to support Murdoch Children's Neonatal Research Group Leader Associate Professor David Tingay and his team's work which aims to better understand newborn infants' respiratory outcomes.

"My research focuses on improving the respiratory management of infants needing intensive care and providing this vulnerable but important population every chance for a healthy start to life," he said.

Through this research, Associate Professor Tingay and his team hope to develop new ways to diagnose preterm lung injury, which would help doctors better treat preterm babies at the right time to optimise their outcomes.

ByBoet was created by Marijn Mees and Joris Steeman (pictured above, with their children, A/Professor Tingay and RCH COCOON Nurse Coordinator, Polly St John) after their eight and a half month NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) journey with their son Boet, who was born extremely prematurely at 27 weeks and weighed only 689 grams.

For five weeks his maternity hospital kept him alive using ventilation machines to support his lungs but it became clear there was nothing else they could do to ensure enough oxygen could get to his vital organs.

In a last-ditch attempt to save his life, Boet was transferred to The Royal Children's Hospital where doctors hatched a plan to try a high-frequency jet ventilator – a form of breathing support that was pioneered at the hospital 20 years ago. Instantly Boet improved and after 12 days on the machine, his lungs recovered enough so he could breathe on his own with lower forms of breathing support. Tragically, however, this did not last and Boet sadly passed away on September 1, 2019.

By sharing Boet's story, ByBoet aims to raise awareness for NICUs and raise funds to support research to improve the quality of life and life expectations for premature babies.