Sometimes in life it’s the smallest conversations that can make a monumental difference.
When Ben Mee’s daughter, Olive, arrived into the world at 24 weeks -which is classified as extremely preterm – and weighing at just 1lb 2oz.
In the midst of the first lockdown in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and with no real awareness of premature births, Mee and his wife Sarah looked to others for guidance with COVID-enforced restrictions preventing them from visiting close family and friends and keeping Olive in NICU for 16 weeks.
Fortunately for Mee, his scenario was similar to that of former Manchester City ace David Silva, whose son Matteo was born premature in December 2017.
The Burnley captain was aware of Silva’s situation and Olive’s birth coincided perfectly with the recommencement of football, the Clarets scheduled to travel to the Etihad in their first fixture back.
Silva and Mee, both skippers of their respective sides, shared a discussion before the Premier League game between Man City and Burnley with Mee stating Silva’s experiences helped him and his wife Sarah cope through a difficult time.
In an interview with Tommy’s, an organisation that fund research into miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirths, Mee recalled the emotions and how conversation with Silva came to fruition.
“Things go through your head but we didn’t know what to expect,” said Mee. “We didn’t know how things were going to go and so it was one step at a time.
“We were in lockdown at the time, we didn’t have that support group around us, seeing people face to face or in person. I think we struggled to find about premature births, I’m not sure there’s enough awareness about it.
“I wanted that bit of reassurance from him and to hear that was nice. We hadn’t really spoken to anyone who had such a premature baby.
“I went back and spoke to Sarah and it was nice for us to hear David’s son was doing really well and what a happy boy he was. Coming away from that was really positive.”
Download the LancsLive app for free on iPhone here and Android here.
Don’t miss a thing from the club you love! For all the latest updates on Burnley, sign up to our free newsletter packed with all the latest news here.