You may know that I am walking 100 kilometres in the month of March to raise money and awareness of the work of SANDS – (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity). This is a fundraiser organized by SANDS, and lots of people are walking for all kinds of reasons. Here are mine.
SANDS does amazing work. They provide support for bereaved families in so many ways – a free confidential helpline for anyone affected by the loss of a baby, recently or in the past, or supporting someone affected by the loss of a baby. They can provide bereavement support, practical information, and signpost to other organisations where appropriate. At times when the helpline is closed you can also email.
SANDS bereavement support pack and bereavement support app both contain information to help bereaved parents to find the right support when they need it. And ongoing in person support can be found at a local support group – find details of your closest group on the SANDS website.
The other hugely important side of their work is the research that SANDS funds to increase understanding of the causes of, and therefore how to prevent, baby loss and to improve maternal safety. They also work with the government to keep this research a priority.
SANDS have funded research into subjects such as side sleeping during pregnancy; economic costs of stillbirth: third trimester ultrasounds; mortality reviews: bereavement care: fetal movements; ways to efficiently collect and interpret post mortem data. And a load of other incredible stuff - check out their website for more information.
So of course this important and significant work is something I want to support and be a teeny tiny part of.
On a more personal note, my desire to highlight the work of SANDS has grown out of a combination of being a mother myself, and the various ways in which that journey has shaped who and how I am now, and having seen people I love going through their own experiences with baby loss.
Some days one hundred kilometres feels like a long way. I’m not sure that I can really manage to walk that far. But I would like to try.
I am on a personal crusade against perfectionism, so I will try to walk 100 km. And I will also try not to be too hard on myself if I don’t quite reach my target.
If you feel at all moved to sponsor my attempt, all monies going directly to SANDS, you can do so at Ruth Noble is fundraising for Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity (justgiving.com).
If you need support following the loss of a baby you can reach the SANDS helpline on 0808 164 3332 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
You can find out about all of the amazing work they do and ways in which they support bereaved families at www.sands.org.uk.