Image: The Feeling
Nick Waplington
NBC News
updated 5/8/2008 7:55:09 PM ET 2008-05-08T23:55:09

Each month, Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This month we spoke with members of the U.K. band The Feeling, which earlier this year released its second album, “Join With Us'.” Band members Kevin Jeremiah, Paul Stewart, Dan Gillespie Sells, Ciaran Jeremiah and Richard Jones are passionate about their work with Winnicott Baby Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, which is dedicated to training and providing support and resources for parents dealing with the prematurely born children.

Question: What is the Winnicott Foundation?

Richard Jones: It’s a foundation that came about to raise money for premature baby units. We got  involved with them when we did a show for a fundraiser last year. It’s a very important cause and it’s a cause very close to my heart because my wife suffered with preeclampsia during her pregnancy and had to go in and have an emergency cesarean. Our little boy was born at 32 weeks. … They saved his life. He’s now 4 years old and completely healthy and has had no problems at all and it’s thanks to the amazing work they do at these places.

Q: What is your role with the organization?

RJ: We do fundraisers for them and we’re there to just let people know about them. … That’s the main thing that people like us can do because we work in the media and just to make people aware of the work these people do and how important it is.

Q: You spoke about why this charity is important to you. Does anyone else have an experience where an organization like this has helped someone close to them?

Paul Stewart: Well, I guess that all of us have been sort of involved in some way or another with members of family, you know cousins or brothers and sisters or whatever. … Rich is the only one that’s actually had that actual experience as a parent. But I was premature by three to four weeks. … I wasn’t breathing when I came out. … It’s just something, as Richard said,  that is a really worthy worthwhile cause.

Q: How do you find time with your busy schedules to be involved?

RJ:  You just make time. When we got the call for Winnicott, they asked us if we could come out and we made sure we were free on the day for that show.

PS: Luckily the events they put on are quite large and they take a lot of planning, so there’s enough notice for us to make sure that the date is held. … Trying to work things around on short notice is difficult but we’ve always said, ‘Give us lots of notice and we’ll be there.’”

Q:  Why is it important for people to support this cause?

RJ: The work they do is vital for the future generations and they’re saving the lives of children. I think is the most incredible thing, because they’re so innocent and they’ve got their whole lives ahead of them, they should absolutely be a priority.

Q: And how’s your child doing today?

RJ: He’s doing great. He’s starting school in September. Like I said he’s perfectly healthy, and he went from being in an incubator and being on all kinds of different machines keeping him alive for the first five weeks of his life.

Q: That must have been a scary time for you and your wife. How did you get through that?

RJ: It was bizarre and looking back on it I think we sort of shut down emotionally. You just deal with it, visiting the hospital two or three times a day, just getting on with it and then you know once he was home and OK you realize what you’ve been through.

Q: You just came out with a new album. Are there plans for a U.S. tour?

RJ: Yeah, we will do. We had a lot of fun touring the last album in the States so hopefully in the summer or later in the year we’ll be out. There’s nothing actually booked yet but we’ve got a rough idea.

Q: When you played the gig at the Winnicott Foundation ball what was that like for you? Was there something that stuck out in your mind above everything else?

PS: The fact that the amount of time and money invested in new technology and new training is just invaluable. My fianceés’ little brother was born in the early ‘80s in Ireland in a hospital that was a really struggling for funds and there were complications with his birth. They didn’t have the technology and the experience to deal with it and subsequently he was severely disabled. If a foundation like the Winnicott had been available … it could have been a different story.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Winnicott Foundation via the Charities Aid Foundation.

Interviewed by Giacinta Pace, NBC News

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