Saturday 1 October 2016

Miracle baby Zoe Ireland finally home in the US thanks to anonymous donor

Published 24/01/2016 | 20:03

Jenny Drake with baby Zoe and her son Aiden (3) in the Rotunda Hospital Photo: Joe Dunne
Jenny Drake with baby Zoe and her son Aiden (3) in the Rotunda Hospital Photo: Joe Dunne
Gavin and Jenny Drake
Zoe Ireland Drake

Miracle baby Zoe Ireland Drake has made it home to the US for the first time, thanks to an anonymous donor.

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Zoe’s mother Jenny confirmed the news to local station WKRN TV in Nashville.

"Now that we are kind of to the end of it, we can call it what it really is, which is a blessing. It’s been a crazy, traumatic, wild blessing, but it has been a blessing," Jenny said.

Zoe and her family are now being cared for at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

Jenny went into labour in October at 25 weeks on a transatlantic flight and the pilot was forced to divert to Dublin, where she gave birth to her daughter in the Rotunda.

The family spent Christmas in Ireland and when the news came that Zoe was permitted to travel home to the States, a GoFundMe account was set up to raise the €61,500 cost of a medical flight which would not be covered by insurance.

Ms Drake, an optometrist in the US, was surprised with the news on the Ray D’Arcy Show last week that the remainder of the money had been donated anonymously.

“I’ve got some news for you, we got a text yesterday,” Ray began.

He told Jenny that an anonymous donor has offered to pay the remaining €30,000 to send the family home

“He’s 100pc above board, and he 100pc wants to fund the repatriation of Zoe Ireland to her home country of America."

Ray read a portion of a message from the man:

“Unfortunately I don’t have a corporate jet, but I want to say as a family we want to donate in their quest to get home.

“Luckily, I have a successfully business, but I like my daughters to take an interest in giving something back. I would however like to remain completely anonymous and do not want any publicity for doing this."

The premature infant had been in the special care unit, but just before Christmas, doctors gave permission for her to go home.

However, the family's insurance did not cover the $67,000 (€61,500) cost of a medical flight needed to take the tot to the US.

The family spent Christmas day in Swords and visited Zoe in hospital.

Optometrist Jenny said that landing in Ireland to give birth was meant to be.

"We don't think we could have landed anywhere else that would have treated us this well," she said.

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