Between the 9th of December this year (2017) and 9th December 2018 I plan to walk 2000 miles. I do this in honor of my son, Raz. The 9th of December this year will mark his second birthday. Very sadly, I won’t be able to spend the day celebrating with him, which would be my dearest wish, as he was stillborn at 30 weeks.
The reason for my challenge is two fold:
1. To raise awareness of stillbirth; because we can’t fight it unless more people are aware of it.
Most people (me included initially) think stillbirth is a rare occurrence, the result of a freak accident or negligence. Sadly, this is not the case, it is more common than people realise. The UK has one of the worst stillbirth rates, 15 times more common than cot-death. One in every two hundred and twenty babies is stillborn in the UK, that's ten per day. Over 3,200 families every year who don't get to take their precious little person home with them. Families whose lives are forever changed.
Stillbirth is made even more difficult for families to understand and come to terms with because around 30% of cases occur late in pregnancy with no known abnormalities, when delivery would have likely led to the birth of a healthy baby.
Stillbirth has considerable medical, psychological, social and economic consequences. Women who experience a stillbirth are more likely to develop mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. They are also 10 times more likely to have a stillborn in the future.
2. I also want to raise awareness of and funds for the work of Manchester Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, which is the only dedicated stillbirth research centre in the UK. This centre works in collaboration with Tommy’s stillbirth charity and St Mary’s Hospital. Here, 80 staff work side-by-side with families.
People perhaps think that there is a reason that babies are stillborn, but around half of stillbirths are unexplained. There is a lot that research could explain. As my friend Antonia says on the Manchester University webpage “If one in two hundred three year olds could expect to die between the age of three and three and a quarter, you could bet we’d be putting a lot of money into [research], but because nobody else meets the child nothing goes into it.”
Through their research, the Manchester Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre has managed to develop tests and treatments that have resulted in a 29% decrease in still births across Manchester since 2011.
A link to more information about their work is here http://www.manchester.ac.uk/stillbirth/
Follow my journey:
Facebook group: 2000 miles
Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.