This year marks a huge milestone for our little family, because this is the year our first child, Seamus, should have turned five years old.
Seamus was a beautiful, healthy, normal baby boy. His pregnancy was full of the usual excitement, jitters and fluffy-cloud imaginings of any first time parents… Until a “desperately unlucky” umbilical cord accident took him from us at the very last moment… And our lives took a sharp twist from setting up a nursery and buying that essential car seat, to an impossibly silent delivery room… funeral planning… and clutching each other close to prop each other up.
It’s hard to explain what life has been like in those last five years. On the one hand, we are brimful of gratitude as we watch Hugo and Pia grow and learn, amaze and frustrate, explore and surprise, laugh and cry. These zesty little creatures never fail to winkle a smile out of us, however dog-tired, vomit-stained or patience-shredded we are!
But not a day goes by without feeling the loss of Seamus. No matter how beautiful the day, there is always someone missing – from our table, at bedtime, from every family photo. Some days, missing him can feel as overwhelming as it did in those early days - Christmas, anniversaries, seeing all of his would-have-been-friends starting school... Other times it's quieter... a tiny twinge, a catch in the throat, or meeting eyes across a room and knowing exactly what that barely-there tear is for.
Five years feels ….BIG. So, we wanted to mark this milestone by attempting something equally huge. We are aiming to raise a whopping £5,000 to be split between our chosen charities: Sands and Tommy’s.
The 5 for 5 Challenge is a registered event with both charities – details below.
Quite simply – you choose! Set yourself any goal you fancy around the theme of FIVE to be completed by the end of the year. It can be anything – lose 5 pounds, run your first 5k, go vegan for 5 weeks, plant 5 trees, cut 5 inches off your hair to donate, commit to 5 days of volunteering, knit 5 blankets for your local NICU, complete 5 triathlons, ski 5 black runs, go 5 weeks without booze, organise 5 bake sales or pub quizzes, set up a 5-aside competition, read 5 books (or 5 more than you read last year), run 500 miles over the year, cycle 5000, complete 5 parkruns, try 5 new things you’ve never done before, … or create your own mix and match 5 for 5 Challenge Medley!
The challenge can be as big or as small as you like, can be done by anyone, of any age, in any condition from anywhere on the planet.
Make it a challenge.
Make it personal.
HOW IT WORKS
STEP 1: PLEDGE
You are now on the 5 for 5 Challengers team page, which has links below to our various donation pages. These include the all important PLEDGE PAGES as well as individual's sponsorship pages for their personal challenges.
JustGiving is set up so that you cannot evenly split the money between two charities. We therefore have two pledge pages - one for Sands and one for Tommy’s. You can decide which one to donate your fiver to.
In the donation comments, tell us what your challenge will be! Publically declaring your pledge will push you towards succeeding.
STEP 2: RECRUIT
Please try to bring five more people on board to complete a 5 for 5 Challenge. By signing on five new challengers, your fiver quickly turns into £30, and the campaign gets ever closer to its target. This really is key for us to get to our target – try your place of work, your family, your partner, social events, social media, sports clubs… Anyone, from anywhere is welcome!
STEP 3: GET CRACKING!
Join our Facebook group to keep us up to date on your progress. (Search: 5 for 5 Challenge)
Your event does not need to raise sponsorship, although we would really appreciate it if it did. If you think you can raise funds through sponsorship of your challenge, you can create your own team member page, linking to the 5 for 5 Challenge Team page. You will be able to track your progress individually as well as the team’s £5000 target.
OUR CHOSEN CHARITIES
Sands – the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity – provided us with kindness, understanding and tireless support during those earliest and darkest days. Their work funds special hospital bereavement suites, memory boxes, help lines and support groups. Sands also works with health professionals seeking to improve the quality of care during every pregnancy, to minimise the risk of stillbirth. Funding also supports invaluable research into why so many babies die before, during or after birth, or in the first 28 days of life.
We also wanted to include Tommy’s - the Baby Charity - because of their AMAZING research into pregnancy problems: stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriage. Sadly, most bereaved parents do not ever discover the cause of their baby’s death and have no choice but to white knuckle their way through subsequent pregnancies blind.
Tommy’s funds three research centres in the UK dedicated to maternal and foetal research. Big things are on the horizon as plans for 2016 include opening a fourth research centre dedicated to investigating and preventing early miscarriage.
Thanks for reading.
John & Aoife
For more details, visit our website and join us on Facebook.